Once upon a time, large events catered for three dishes: chicken, beef, and a vegetarian option. Now, in a world where gluten allergies are thriving and dairy intolerances are commonplace, it can be challenging to provide catering for all of your guests. From veganism to paleo, and from grain-free vegetarianism to those with fatal nut allergies, making sure that your guests are fully satisfied is no mean feat.

Leave your guests feeling full and fed. How to cater for every dietary need.

1. Provide a meat-free option

It’s always best to provide a meat-free option for those that abstain from meat and meat products entirely. Creating a few vegan-friendly options for your guests caters to both vegans and vegetarians alike, whilst providing a low-fat, healthier alternative for all of your guests. If you’re catering for the event yourself, be sure to check out Graze for some fantastic vegan menu ideas.

2. Have a good selection

There’s nothing worse for a vegetarian than finding they are limited to only one option from the menu. Shake things up a little and be sure to provide at least two or three dishes for your meat-free guests to choose from. Limiting options based on tastes is a sure fire way to make your guests feel like an afterthought. Shower them with options and they’ll feel spoilt.

3. Go nut free

Although there is little more appetizing than a truly exceptional pecan pie, leave those off the menu unless you know with absolute certainty that none of your guests have severe nut allergies. Cross-contamination can lead to potentially fatal outcomes, so to avoid an awful epi-pen experience and keep all of your dishes nut free.

4. Hold off on the dairy and gluten

Food sensitivities are growing, and so are the number of people who just don’t do well with dairy or gluten. Be sure to have gluten free options for meals for those with coeliac’s disease and gluten sensitivities, and have milk alternatives like almond and soy milk available for those with dairy and lactose allergies. Making small swaps is easy to do, and needn’t take much effort. Talk to your caterer and be sure that they have alternatives on hand when preparing their dishes.

5. Always ask

A surprising number of hosts overlook the simple solution of asking their guests if they have any specific dietary requirements. When you send out invitations to  your event, including a survey in your e-invite, or an RSVP card wherein they can state any dietary needs is an easy and thoughtful way of making sure all of your guests are being catered to.

Sage Words

No matter your guests’ dietary needs, ensuring that you have plenty of selection and variety will leave them feeling full, fed, and satisfied at your event. For more tips and tricks on how to add those extra touches to your dining experience, take a look at how to get creative with beautiful centrepieces.

Kimberly Rohachuk

Kimberly Rohachuk

Over my career I've had the honor of working on some major events, including the World AIDS Conference in Vancouver, G8 Foreign Ministers meeting, and the Vancouver 2010 Olympics bid delegation to Prague. I’ve also worked with a number of corporate clients all over the world delivering hundreds of events for groups ranging from 50 to 1,500 people.

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