Planning a menu around a holiday dinner or social gathering can be tricky. With health and wellness becoming a more integral facet in many of our lives, dietary restrictions have become commonplace in many of our lifestyles. Some are religious, some are allergens, some are moral preferences – all should be respected when planning a menu. We’ve listed 6 of the most common dietary restrictions and some tips to please all of your guests at your next gathering!

Vegetarian

A vegetarian diet is one of the most common dietary restrictions worldwide. Vegetarians don’t consume meat of any kind but many will eat animal byproducts dairy, eggs, and cheese.

Menu tip: Try a portobello mushroom in place of a burger or steak!

Vegan

A vegan diet does not include any meat or animal byproducts at all. Vegans consume fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. More and more brands are catching on to the vegan/vegetarian trend and creating tasty meat-less dishes like Gardein’s Holiday Roast.

Menu tip: Make sure none of your vegetable dish recipes contain butter!

Nut-free

This dietary restriction is one of the more serious ones. Nut allergies can be severe. Even if a dish doesn’t contain nuts, nut oil or touching nut oil can cause some allergies to flare. If someone coming to your meal has a nut allergy, be sure to discuss before hand so you can prepare the kitchen and menu accordingly.

Menu tip: Better safe than sorry. Take allergies seriously and be transparent about anything you’re worried about.

Gluten-free

Someone may have a gluten-free dietary restriction due to Celiac Disease, an intolerance, or a personal preference. Gluten is in foods like wheat, barley, rye, and oats and many foods made from them. However, when planning for someone with Celiac Disease, be aware that cross contamination (spoons, cutting boards, knives, etc.) that also touch wheat are not safe for them – so best to ask ahead what may be best to serve.

Menu tip: Instead of a bread basket or crackers with cheese, serve Caprese salad.

Kosher

Kosher food conforms to Jewish dietary regulations and must be labeled as Kosher. It must also be prepared in a Kosher kitchen.

Menu tip: Ask if they can bring a Kosher dish to share!

Dairy-free

Another common dietary restitution includes lactose intolerance. There are varying degrees of intolerance so be sure to check with any guests about needing dishes to be dairy free.

Menu tip: Butter contains trace amounts of lactose. Be sure to alert any guests when you include it!

 

No matter what dietary restriction you’re planning a menu for, the number one rule is just to communicate. Ask guests if they have any dietary restrictions with plenty of time before the meal so you have time to adjust if necessary and always be transparent about what’s in a dish, even the oil it was cooked in or other food it might have touched. Bon appetite!


 Get a sure-to-please healthy dessert recipe for Peppermint Protein Bark!