Conference Crash Course: Conscious Food Choices to Keep You Energized

Conference Crash Course: Conscious Food Choices to Keep You Energized

By Valerie Romack

It’s day 2 of your association’s annual conference—the conference you’ve been preparing for all year—and your energy is starting to lag. You need a quick boost to get through the afternoon, so you grab a caffeinated beverage and a sugary snack for some instant energy. You’re fine for the next hour, sailing through your to-do list or the next can’t-miss educational session, until the dreaded sugar crash hits.

We’ve all been there; there’s no shortage of sugary or caffeine-laden treats to be had at conference. But with constant sugar and caffeine highs and crashes, your physical health takes a hit, affecting your performance—which, during a conference, needs to be at its best. There are four aspects of your physical health that you need to maintain and keep primed at conference, so if you want lasting energy that’ll keep you refreshed, focused, and even boost your immune system, try these 8 easily portable foods to function at your best.


Cranberries: Red berries are healthy as can be, and these little bitter fruits can help boost your immune system, which is vital at conference when viruses can run rampant. Mix up some trail mix with dried cranberries to snack on during those long days in the exhibit hall or drink organic cranberry juice to keep you jazzed and protected throughout the event.

Citrus Fruit: Lemons, oranges, and grapefruits are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants to stave off contagious illnesses and protect you from those pesky travel germs. They’re also easily portable and stay fresh at room temperature for days. Pack a few in your bag or pick some up once you get onsite.

Ginger: Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, helping to regulate your body’s healthy immune responses. Carry crystallized or candied ginger with you, especially when traveling, for a tasty zing that kicks viruses to the curb. Prone to motion sickness? Ginger is also a natural way to soothe an upset stomach.


Dark Chocolate: It’s surprisingly healthy! Indulging in some dark chocolate can give you energy and improve your mood (and joy) for the day. But be sure to check the sugar content. Those refined sugars added to popular brands can lead to sugar crashes later. Try for a less sweet chocolate containing 75% or more cacao.


Oats: Oatmeal can help you feel full without bogging you down and stimulate your brain to increase focus (ideal for tackling that mile-long to-do list). Plus, you can make it even more delicious or sustaining with delicious toppings like peanut butter, cinnamon, banana, or blueberries.

Green Tea: The small amount of naturally occurring caffeine in green tea helps focus your thoughts and gives you the boost you need to get through your day. Whether hot, cold, or infused into chocolate, green tea (matcha especially) is a healthy alternative to coffee or energy drinks without the crash or addictive side effects.


Blueberries: With a wealth of antioxidant properties, blueberries stimulate the communication between brain cells, increasing the likelihood for memory pathways to form and decreasing the chance for degenerative brain conditions. Dried blueberries are easily portable and can be added to trail mix, oatmeal, or even eaten with a few squares of dark chocolate for an energy boost.

Pumpkin Seeds: These tasty fall treats contain zinc, iron, and even some protein to encourage neurological health. Combine these with dried blueberries, cranberries, ginger, and dark chocolate for a nutrient powerhouse mix.

When staffing or attending a conference, keep in mind it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Turn to nutrient-dense snacks to stimulate brain function and keep your energy level up, and you’ll sail through conference at your best.

Valerie Romack is an associate editor on the Creative Media Services team at AMC.

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