Atkins (noun) 1. A diet focused on high-protein, low-carbohydrate foods. 2. Dr. Robert C. Atkins, creator of the popular Atkins diet
Snack time. You don't need to buy a case of Atkins-brand Advantage bars for your break. Individually wrapped, low-fat cheese — string cheese is a good option — or nuts (not honey-roasted) will please the low-carb crowd.
Wise to the Times. The hugely popular Atkins diet — and other high-protein, low-carbohydrate weight-loss plans such as South Beach and Zone — have taken the country by storm. Even mainstream restaurants such as Chili's, TGI Friday's, and Blimpie have altered their menus based on demand for low-carb fare. Food is an important part of life — and meetings — and planners may want to keep the trend in mind.
Eye-Openers. Bacon and eggs will always please the low-carb crowd, but for a continental breakfast, try adding hard-boiled eggs and cheese. A deli platter of meats (roasted, not sugar-cured) will also be welcome. It's more expensive than pastries alone, but your Atkins fanatics (and the Europeans) will love you.
Breaking Bread. Think protein and green veggies. Even the most die-hard Atkins followers don't expect a banquet with no carbs on the plate, but consider a herb marinade on your meat rather than a sugary barbecue or teriyaki sauce. You won't be the first person to ask the chef to get low-carb creative. If your main meal will please the Atkins-ites, you may want to pacify your indulgers with an over-the-top dessert.
Carbs at the Party. Low-carb beers have quickly gained marketshare, so be prepared for requests at your cocktail receptions. Both Michelob Ultra and Rock Green Light, the new Rolling Rock product launched in December, have only 2.6 grams of carbs per bottle. “Light” beers aren't close: Coors Light has 5 grams of carbs, and Bud Light has 6.6 grams.
Can't do it? Don't sweat it. Remember, low-carb is a request, not a restriction as is a food allergy. Serious dieters need to be — and usually are — prepared to work around what is offered in a group setting.
Ask 'em. If you don't already, ask your attendees on your registration form if they have special dietary requests. It may be opening a can of worms, but if you want to be proactive about meeting attendees' needs, list “low-carb” among the dietary options such as vegetarian and kosher.
Sources: www.atkins.com; The South Beach Diet
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