University Park, PA (PRWEB) September 25, 2013
Whether sweet or savory, a small snack or an elaborate meal, conference planners at Penn State say they are receiving more requests for healthy food choices during multi-day conferences on the University Park campus.
"Conference attendees often want food that is low in calories but high in flavor," said Pam Driftmier, director of Penn State Conferences. "They want fresh choices, not processed food."
Driftmier says food choices vary with each conference but every meal includes a vegetarian option, and chefs can meet special dietary requirements with sufficient notice. She says conference planners choose menus that appeal to a variety of tastes: fruit, yogurt, granola and vegetables are popular and water has become more of a staple at session breaks.
"For groups requesting healthy options, most caterers are very willing to assist by providing creative, attractive and varied offerings," Driftmier said. "Often, they surprise the participants with meals that include more vegetables and thin sauces rather than heavy, cream-filled sauces."
Healthier menu choices are incorporated into the conference budgets and sometimes result in increased registration fees but Driftmier says in these cases, the audience is willing to pay for what they value.
"We listen to feedback from the conference participants and generally, there is enough variety to satisfy every request," she said.
However, conference participants can still enjoy a cookie or other traditional fare with their snacks and meals.
"The planner identifies what is important to the audience. Our responsibility is to offer options that meet their needs," she said. "It’s been a gradual transition to include healthier choices and most of our guests eat in moderation while they’re here."
"It’s critical to give them what they want and need."
Penn State Conferences plans and manages hundreds of programs each year which represent the diversity and strength of Penn State’s academic colleges and provide opportunities for individuals to learn about the latest scholarship, research and developments in their fields or participate in enriching learning experiences. Penn State Conferences is part of Penn State Outreach, which serves more than 5 million people each year, in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and more than 100 countries worldwide.