Editor’s note: We published the following story in May 2016, and it was so popular with our readers that we decided to provide an update about the seven super snacks we featured. We found that there are a multitude of possibilities—some fairly ordinary, others delightfully strange—for providing each of these snacks at your gatherings.
All of the content of the original story is provided, and the updated information is highlighted at the end of each listing.
Coffee breaks provide an often-needed respite for attendees to absorb and digest presented information. Meeting planners can make coffee break time more fun with these 7 super snack ideas from Carlos Collado, executive director of catering at MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
1. Stick it to ‘em. Serve your snacks on a stick. Small morsels presented on sticks are quick and easy for attendees to eat, especially when they are on-the-go. They also lend themselves to attractive displays, as they can be pushed into anything from cakes and watermelons to decorated Styrofoam blocks. Foods that translate well to sticks include chicken teriyaki, coconut macaroons and chocolate dipped strawberries.
Snacks on a stick don’t need to be small morsels. Some more substantial options include chef salad on a stick, with lettuce tomato, meat, cheese and a dip or dressing; cupcake on a stick; breaded, deep-fried mac and cheese on a stick; mocha on a stick, a frozen treat made with sweetened coffee, cream and chocolate; and stuffed almond and strawberry French toast kebabs.
2. Own a cone. Bring back childhood fun by serving snacks in cones. Edible cones are easy for attendees to pop into their mouths and eliminate the need for plates and silverware. Desserts obviously lend themselves to cone presentations, but instead of ice cream, try filling them with pudding or bite-size pieces of cake. Create savory cones by wrapping seared ahi tuna or thin strips of beef in nori seaweed.
These creations only tap the many possibilities. Treat your group to cones filled with fruit salad, apple chips and cereal, flavored popcorn, peanut butter and jelly, trail mix—or even breaded chicken. And rather than the standard cones, make them using churros or donuts.
3. Give it a shot. Shots are popular in bars because they are quick, colorful and pack a punch. Early in the day, try serving alcohol-free shots of fruit-flavored yogurt or green smoothies. Appealing dessert shots could include tiny root beer floats or mini churros served in a shot glass with a caramel dipping sauce.
The potential of shot glasses can’t be over-estimated. Typically used for beverages, they can also easily accommodate French fries and ketchup, cheesecake, shrimp with cocktail sauce, strawberry shortcake, chicken satay and much more.
4. Make it mini. People adore cute, mini-size versions of their favorite foods. Apply the concept to breakfast burritos, tacos, corn dogs, sliders, muffins or small cups of popcorn.
By mini, we mean VERY small. Mini burgers, pizzas, chicken pot pies, quiche, tacos, grilled cheese sandwiches and pancake stacks are among the exciting possibilities.
5. Beignets are big. A favorite in New Orleans, these lightweight donuts can be filled with sweet or savory additions. One flavor that seems to be trending is Nutella.
Some of the most interesting fillings popping up are spinach and artichoke, blue crab, gruyere and parmesan, peach and lobster.
6. Ice is nice. Italian ice is refreshing any time of the year. Perennial favorites include lemon, strawberry or mango, but try experimenting with other taste sensations such as cappuccino or vanilla.
Some more unusual flavors have emerged, including peanut butter and jelly, cotton candy and Swedish Fish.
7. Wet ‘n wild. Providing water during meeting breaks is a given, but why not infuse some fun into the beverage? Water infused with fresh cucumbers, basil, orange slices or berries is all the rage. An added bonus is that infused water served in pitchers is more eco-friendly that individual plastic bottles of water.
Artichoke, maple, bacon and cactus are also being infused in water. And the trend isn’t limited to human consumption—K9 Water was specifically formulated to provide dogs with essential vitamins that contribute to overall good health and provide hydration. K9 Vita Water is available in chicken, beef, liver and lamb.