Food. It is delicious, it is nutritious, but sometimes it can be downright problematic! Unless you are having an event without food (not recommended!) then you are going to have to deal with dietary restrictions.
Dietary restrictions can mean any number of things. Many people have food allergies with reactions ranging from mild discomfort to life-threatening. Some people have an intolerance to gluten, which is found in wheat and other related grains. Others are vegetarians, who don’t eat meat, or vegan, which means no meat or other animal products, including eggs and dairy.
As you can imagine, living with one of these dietary restrictions can sometimes make it hard to find food you are able to eat, especially when you haven’t prepared it yourself. And you certainly wouldn’t want your guests to leave your event hungry, whether it is a networking event, corporate retreat, or a wedding. Luckily, any good caterer should be able to work with you to provide all of your guests with delicious food they are capable of eating.
This doesn’t mean you have to provide a different dish to each dietary preference, carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and each separate food allergy, no! That would quickly get expensive. Instead, offer two dishes, one for your everyday eaters, and one that is both vegan and gluten-free. This will satisfy everyone and anyone with a food allergy should be fairly easy to accommodate, just have your caterer serve them a normal meal with the offending ingredient left out.
Now you may be thinking, vegan and gluten-free? How am I supposed to find a meal that fits all of those requirements? Don’t worry, check out The Gluten-Free Vegan for tons of delicious recipes, including this recipe for Creamy Avocado & Orange Pasta Salad:
For your regular meal I suggest you offer a non-controversial meat, such as chicken, since there are many people who don’t eat red meat, pork, or fish. Then, once you have all of your bases covered and you want to add more options, go for it! Add a seafood option, steak, or maybe a gluten-free meat dish.
Now it may not be necessary to go to all of this trouble if you end up with guests who don’t have any dietary restrictions. If you are having a plated dinner, leave a space on the RSVP card to list any dietary restrictions, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or severe food allergies. Then once you have a list of all of the restrictions you are dealing with you can work from there.
But if you are having a buffet dinner you should make sure that you have enough food for everybody and place labels in front of each dish with the names of each food and pertinent information. For example label the foods that are gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan as such, and make sure that foods that include frequent problem ingredients, such as nuts or dairy, say so.