Accommodating Guests with Special Diets and Allergies

When hosting a meeting or event, it's essential to be mindful of the dietary requirements of your guests. According to the World Allergy Organization, up to 250 million people around the world have food allergies, and in the US, that equates to one in ten adults. Food intolerances are even more widespread, and can make people feel unwell and put them off eating out. To guarantee everyone is catered for, it's essential to ask guests about any special dietary needs before the event.

Prepackaged foods must include a list of ingredients and allergen content, while non-prepackaged foods must be clearly marked. In childcare settings, it's important to collaborate with parents to make sure children with special dietary needs receive adequate food. If possible, ask a chef or manager “on call” to talk to diners about their dietary restrictions. Offering gluten-free meals is a popular trend that many restaurants have adopted.

It's also essential to let your wedding venue or caterer know in advance about any dietary requirements. The paleo diet is gaining in popularity and is based on the types of foods that early humans were supposed to eat. When enrolling a child in daycare, ask parents about any special dietary practices and discuss the best ways to adapt. If the program cannot provide food to meet the child's needs, ask parents to provide meals and snacks that meet the child's needs or refer them to another program that may be better suited. Most attendees who request a special menu will appreciate your extra efforts to ensure they have a great experience.

Including foods from different cultures as a regular part of their menus is a more effective way to help children learn about different cultures. In many countries, food suppliers must inform customers if their recipes contain specific allergens as an ingredient. Planning for special dietary needs must begin before enrolling a child in childcare. There are many strict specifications within the paleo diet that may include the foods used (meat, dairy products, etc.).