Hosting a dinner party could be a challenging task. When you add on the extra burden of worrying about meeting the needs of guests with possible food allergies, sensitivities or personal diets it can become overwhelming. The following tips may help you prepare your next holiday gathering that everyone can enjoy:
- Communication is paramount. When sending your invitations to your dinner event, include a note requesting an RSVP with any nutrition restrictions. If you are speaking directly to your guest, tell them what you plan to serve and ask if they have any special requests. They would appreciate your concern and may volunteer to bring one of their special dishes.
- Try to keep it simple. Prepare one or two dishes with the least amount of ingredients. Roasted vegetables coated with olive oil and spices or quinoa with carrots and onions or roasted potatoes seasoned with salt and peppers. These are dishes well tolerated for most people with food restrictions, including gluten intolerance and wheat sensitivity.
- Have the recipe information handy. It’s helpful to have food package labels readily available in case anyone with food allergies or restrictions may have questions or concerns. Some food recipes may call for ingredients shortcuts like a can of soup or ready to use chicken broth that could have cream, soybean, wheat flour or animal products that your guest need to avoid.
- Be resourceful. Keep in mind that you don’t have to do all the work. Many of your guest, especially the ones with special dietary needs will be thankful to contribute a dish. You may want to ask those who are contributing to bring a list with the ingredients used to make things easier for everyone.
- Opt for a buffet style dinner. This is the easiest way to keep all food items separate and for your guests to choose what works best for them. Consider having one or more dishes that are good sources of protein and carbohydrate; such as a lentil, beans or quinoa dish. Also have colorful and succulent fruits and vegetables on your buffet; you can never go wrong with this food group.
- Plan early and relax. Don’t wait until the last minute to ask your guests for special dietary needs and plan with enough time. Remember to enjoy the holiday, it is a special time to take pleasure in the simple things in life, including your family, friends and food!