Starve at a Conference? Nah!By Laura Larsson, HAS Newsletter Editor, and Colleagues+
Eating alone. If you have to eat alone and you don't want to get hit on, bring a book, or watch for other attendees and invite them over to share the eating experience.
Eat with someone youíve just met. For one thing itís more fun and can lead to high-quality networking. At the very least it will enable you to talk with someone who may be outside your community of practice but who can bring new perspectives to your work.
Attend receptions, section lunches and socials. While itís important to attend receptions, luncheons and socials to network, there is often a good gastronomical reason for attending. APHA's Sunday reception can serve as dinner if you are limited in your spending - although if too many people eat their fill, there may not be enough for everyone - so donít overfill your plate. Nurses and others interested in a good session followed by a reception may want to attend the Quad Council of Public Health Nursing Organizations Session that always takes place on Sunday after the APHA reception. The Monday "Social" things provide a good networking opportunity and food. The section lunches on Tuesday are another source of high-quality food.
Coping with an Overabundance of FoodToo much food. At many conferences, the problem is too much food, not insufficient food. If you feel youíve begun to eat too much, divide the food on your plate in half and only eat one-half. If you have a refrigerator in your room, bring the remaining food back and store it until you need another meal Ė or just leave it. Use the extra Ziploc baggies that you brought with you to carry the food safely back to your room. Be sure to get the food refrigerated within two hours to keep the food safe to eat. (A tip of the hat from our public health nutrition specialists who help us remember food safety).
Avoiding temptation. Try to bring or buy locally some fruit and nuts or pretzels - otherwise you may be tempted to eat what's in the hotel room fridge. If you can't leave the conference center because you're a vendor, buy something extra from breakfast like a bagel or a yogurt or juice and keep it behind the display.
Food in Your Hotel Room or On the GoTuna kits contain a small can of tuna, a packet of mayo and of relish and 4 Ė5 crackers. The tuna can is a pull tab so you drain into one half of the plastic container it comes in and then you mix in the other half. You can actually get pre-mixed tuna, though most prefer the one you mix. The texture is better. You find Tuna kits with the cans of tuna in almost any grocery store.Sunkist chicken salad/crax ready to eat in the can work the same way and do not weigh much.
If within walking distance, attendees may go to a local supermarket for luscious food treats like a pint of raspberries or fresh snow peas to eat out-of-hand. Another way to indulge yourself is to pack some really good chocolate or a box of your favorite assortment from a local confection shop. If you know that you won't have time to read conference materials once you return to your job, you can spread out all the handouts on the bed, sort through and read them while sipping on a cup of tea and eating candy! If you have a friend, pick up an already-baked chicken and some healthy accompaniments for a particularly fine, and inexpensive, dinner.