The coffee break is an essential part of any work event, but contrary to the popular belief that they provide a jolt of energy to help us make it through the day, actually, they can make us sleepier. Find out how to organize a healthy break by reading this article!

  • by: Fondazione Valter Longo Onlus Editorial Staff
  • April 20th, 2020

Let’s be honest— following a healthy diet when at home is much easier than when out and about, whether on the road or at social and work events.

One particular challenge that my patients encounter at work conferences and meetings is the extremely tempting –and yet dreaded…coffee break!

Butter cookies, pastries, and other rich morning treats are not only caloric and hard on digestion, but actually make us sleepier—contrary to the popular belief that they provide a jolt of energy to help us make it through the day.

In this article, I provide a menu for a light, healthy coffee break that is also tasty. Best, the foods on this menu can help us concentrate during the meeting or conference session.

Planning a menu that skips animal-derived foods (no milk or eggs) also is a good way to cater to colleagues who are vegans or with particular allergies, including gluten.

All the foods I have chosen for the coffee break menu are in line with Prof. Valter Longo’s Longevity Diet (The Longevity Diet, Penguin 2018).

At the end of the menu, you will even find recipes for foods as delectable as Chocolate Almond Delights and castagnaccio, a traditional Italian dessert made with chestnuts!

Coffee break: Beverages


Tea and Herbal Teas

Still and sparkling water

Sweeteners: whole cane sugar and aloe syrup

Coffee break: Food

Fresh fruit kebabs (seasonal fruit only)

Nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts)

Dark chocolate

Chocolate Almond Delights

Castagnaccio (Italian chestnut dessert)

Chocolate Almond Delights

Ingredients for 20 portions:

  • 500 g of shelled almonds, unpeeled
  • 500 g of dark chocolate

Toast the almonds. Melt the chocolate in double boiler; add the almonds and then mix. Using a spoon, divide the mixture in 20 ramekin dishes, and let cool until the chocolate is solidified.

Castagnaccio (Italian chestnut dessert)

Ingredients for 8 servings:

  • 350 g of chestnut flour
  • 80 g of raisins
  • 100 g of pine nuts
  • A few walnuts
  • A cup of sweet wine
  • 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • Salt

Soak the raisins in the wine, which should be lukewarm. In the meantime, sift the chestnut flour and then combine with 600 ml of room-temperature water. Add a pinch of salt and the olive oil, working the dough until it is malleable and not too dense. Add the chopped walnuts and pine nuts, the raisins (drained and pressed to eliminate the excess wine), and the rosemary needles. Spread the dough onto a baking tray coated in oil (the dough should be no more than 2 cm thick). Brush a bit of oil over the dough, decorate the top with a few rosemary needles, and bake at 180 °C for about 40 minutes, or until little cracks begin to appear on the surface.

The coffee break is an essential part of any work event; it is an opportunity to network, stretch our legs, and re-energize. It is also a chance to do something special for our colleagues—and ourselves, by promoting health in every area of our lives!

Romina Cervigni

Romina Inès Cervigni, Ph.D.
Valter Longo/Create Cures Foundation


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