How to host for people with different dietary requirements
A dinner part is the perfect occasion to get together with your loved ones and play the perfect host for your guests.
But if you’re planning on hosting a dinner party, what do you do if several of your guests have varying dietary requirements? After all, the last thing you want to do is leave certain family and friends feeling left out.
So, to help you prep your kitchen for your guests this year, we’ve collected a range of tips for you to follow to make it easy to cater to those with specific dietary needs. By following these, you can make sure everyone’s included without making dinner more complex than it needs to be.
Confirm dietary requirements beforehand
If you’re at all concerned that any of your guests might need special food requirements for your dinner, you should always check with them beforehand to ensure you can meet their needs well in advance.
Reach out to all your guests several weeks beforehand. That way, you give yourself plenty of time to plan and prepare your different meals properly to make the process as seamless as possible.
Cooking for veggies and vegans
One of the most common types of dietary requirement, serving food for vegetarians and vegans is much simpler than you might think. With plenty of faux options and food alternatives out there, you can make a tasty spread while not overcomplicating your menu.
Thanks to their similar dietary needs, it can often be a simple case of preparing the same meal for veggies and vegans alike, making sure it’s vegan-friendly of course. Main courses, such as a classic nut roast, are perfect replacements for turkey, and guests with these requirements can still enjoy all the trimmings with everyone else.
Just be sure that when you’re choosing your recipes that you pay attention to all the ingredients listed to ensure no animal products sneak through.
Cooking dinner for people with food intolerances
While there might be a range of food tolerances out there, chances are you’ll only need to cater for one or two of your guests at most.
With guests who suffer from certain food intolerances, your main aim should be to prepare food that doesn’t include the ingredients that they’re intolerant to. This might mean swapping out traditional butter for a dairy-free alternative or ensuring you use gluten-free options.
And much like with vegan and veggie guests, preparing your recipes beforehand is going to be a must. But the simplicity of side-stepping intolerance food means you likely won’t need to change much in your recipe to begin with.
Cooking for those with allergies
When it comes to preparing foods for those with allergies, you’ll obviously have to be extra careful to avoid accidental reactions. Fortunately, a classic roast is largely allergen free, but in some rare cases, you may have to accommodate for them.
First things first, you need to avoid including any foods your guests are allergic to. Assuming your guest’s allergy is easily avoided without replacing large portions of your dinner, you shouldn’t need to find new foods to complete your recipes.
If, on the other hand, your guest is seriously allergic to several food items that can’t be replaced, then you’ll need to take the time to prepare their meal separately. This should be done before any other part of the dinner, making sure to wash your hands thoroughly if you do need to handle allergen foods later, and consciously avoiding cross-contamination.
No matter what, always be sure to read all labels for ingredients and use separate utensils when serving, being sure to always serve allergen foods last to minimise the risk of contamination.
Cooking for fussy eaters
We all know how picky young children can be when it comes to food, and dinner is no exception. If you want to encourage your little ones to experiment with new foods this year, then a great idea is to let them serve themselves from a selection of small portions.
These foods should be pre-cut for them and include a wide range of options. It also helps to get them involved in the creation process so they can get excited about eating what they’ve made.
As for older fussy eaters, chances are they already know what they do and don’t like. This makes it quite easy for you to accommodate for their tastes. Simply don’t serve them what they don’t like, and if they like parts of certain dishes that are often mixed together, then set aside the part they like for them before mixing the dish together.
In some cases, if they have a very specific thing they want to eat, you can ask them to bring it with them pre-prepared, and you can then work it into your cooking schedule alongside everything else.
Cooking dinner for special diets
There are countless specialist diets out there that people follow, too many to cover in one article, but the main point to take away from this is that you should ask your guest to clearly state what they can and can’t eat.
People on a Keto diet, for example, avoid carb-heavy foods, instead focusing on meat and fats. In this case, adapting your dinner will be quite simple. Those on a Keto diet can still enjoy foods like turkey and sausages, but instead of starchy veg, you can serve greens and cauliflower cheese.
With these tips in hand, you should have a much easier time catering for those who need specific dietary requirements at your next dinner party. As with cooking any specific recipe, you don’t want to cut corners. Even though catering for different guests can be a challenge, there’s no reason it can’t be fun, and it lets you get creative with your dishes.
If you’re looking for more exciting recipes to try out this year, then you should head over to the Wren inspiration page. We’ve plenty of recipes for you to browse, as well as more helpful tips across our blog. Why not read our article on how to organise your kitchen for Christmas?