Working Dietary Restrictions Into Your Menu
Feel GOOD Food!
One of the most important aspects when planning an event is to make sure all the food and drinks provided can accommodate the dietary restrictions your guests may have. Now I know what you’re thinking, planning a menu around multiple dietary needs is impossible. Fortunately, it is much easier than you may think since specialty diet food has come a long way since bland bricks of tofu.
Start With Research
One helpful tactic to conquer this daunting task could be to information-gather upfront. When your guests are about to RSVP to your event, set aside a section on the invitation where they can include notes regarding their dietary preferences. That way when it is time to meal plan, you don’t have to guess which accommodations are needed.
Let’s say asking in advance isn’t an option, that’s ok. It’s a safe bet that if you are feeding ten or more people you are likely to have a vegetarian/vegan and someone who is gluten-free. Since no one likes guessing what ingredients may be in a dish, set up simple place cards on the menu highlighting the name of the dish and whether it can accommodate a dietary restriction. Use key dietary words, for example, (V) for vegan, (Veg) for vegetarian, (GF) for gluten-free, and (NF) for nut free.
What The Heck Do I Feed Them?
A vegetable and fruit platter is a perfect summer appetizer! Since vegetables may not be the first food group guests want to eat, dress it up and make it look oh so tantalizing. There are so many simple and creative ways to make your food the central piece of art at your event! Work with your events manager to highlight the dishes that will feed the most people.
Take traditional dishes and make them vegetarian or gluten-free: replace noodles with zucchini noodles, portobello mushrooms, and cauliflower rice. Proteins can come from quinoa, lentils, and beans. Most restaurants and caterers are used to these types of substitutions, so just ask in advance to avoid last minute stress!
Dessert is everyone’s favorite part of the meal, but the ingredients that make treats taste so good are often the ones that disagree with people’s stomachs. Easily make your dessert lactose free by substituting with vegan ingredients. Oat flour/gluten free flour, sugar/stevia, gluten-free baking powder/soda, avocado oil, and flax egg are all healthy and tasty ingredients that can be used to alter a traditional recipe. These substitutes don’t only make your guests happy, but your gut as well!
Event menu planning doesn’t have to be stressful, but you will need to do some pre-planning with your events manager to ensure your guests are living it up rather than spending the night sick in the corner or sadly eating saltines.