We have all been there: You are in charge of the food for your next office get together, stressful yes, but you know just the place to order from. Everyone is gonna love the food because you know how awesome it is.
But then you remember about your new co-worker who said they have a special diet. What did they say again? Paleo, celiac, vegan… what does it all mean anyway!?
We are here to help.
There are many different types of dietary requirements out there, and when you are responsible for providing them with food it can be overwhelming. The first step is to understand what each of these diets entails.
We have brought you the definitive guide to 6 common dietary restrictions. We explain what they mean and how to handle them like a pro when catering your next office event.
People with coeliac disease are probably the most important to cater for correctly. Coeliac disease is a condition where a person’s immune system reacts in a negative way to gluten. This causes inflammation in their intestines and can cause irreparable damage to the digestional tract, leading to digestion and nutrition absorption problems. Avoiding gluten completely is the only way for someone with coeliac disease to prevent damage to their body.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and oats. There is some misconception that is it is only found in wheat, so it is important to remember that gluten is also present in barley, rye, and oats.
To successfully cater for someone with coeliac disease you need to provide some options that do not contain gluten. Most restaurants are aware of this disease and provide great meals without gluten. Indeed, many of You Chews’ food partners have great gluten free options. Check out great gluten-free options from Almond Bar, Kirtsy Lou’s Kitchen, and Love Soup.
Vegans, like vegetarians, choose not to eat meat. But they take it one step further and do not eat any animal products. This means no meat, no dairy, no eggs and no honey. Serving vegans food at your next event might seem like a huge task. Cause, seriously, what do these people eat?? But fear not, vegans are pretty easy to satisfy.
Many food providers will have delicious vegan options for you to choose from. And usually they have more than just a dry salad. Vegans love to eat beans, lentils, pasta, rice, soy, and so many other non-animally things.
A kosher diet is dictated by the Torah and followed by many Jewish people. Under this diet there are restrictions concerning mostly meat and dairy. Only mammals that have ‘cloven hooves and chew their cud’ are to be eaten (i.e. cattle, sheep, deer, goats, bison) and only fish that have fins and scales are to be eaten (no shellfish or crustaceans).
Also, there is a special way that the animals need to be slaughtered, following with the laws of the Torah. This means draining all the blood and removing prohibited fats and nerves from the animal before it is to be eaten. All meats that have been prepared in this way will have a kosher label.
When preparing to cater for someone following a strict kosher diet, it is a good idea to have a vegetarian option available for them. Since they may not be comfortable with eating any meats that they are not certain meet the kosher criteria.
When it comes to consuming dairy, a kosher diet requires that dairy is not consumed at the same time as meat. This is to avoid ‘boiling a kid in its mother’s milk’. However, for catering purposes, the best way to be sure that you have something suitable for the kosher diet is to provide delicious vegetarian options.
You Chews food partners have some amazing vegetarian options sure to satisfy anyone’s palate. Check out Hello Pizza’s fantastic veggo pizzas, Bunmese’s smashing veggo platters, and the versatile choices from Kirsty Lou’s Kitchen.
The paleo diet is a pretty recent dietary lifestyle, but it has gained quite a following and you might come across some paleo co-workers. The paleo diet is focused on returning to a way of eating that is related to the eating habits human’s ancient ancestors. They reject the modern western diet which they believe is responsible for many of the health problems seen in our world today.
To eat paleo a person uses evolutionary biology to point them in the direction of what our ancestors probably ate. This means they reject modern foods such as grains, beans, soy, industrial oils, and processed foods. Instead they eat more whole foods that humans may have eaten before modern agriculture. This includes game, wild fish, grass-fed cattle, local and seasonal fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds.
To feed the paleo in your midst make sure there is some sustainable meat and local fresh veggies (separated from bread and grains) at your next event. Several of our food partners are committed to serving local and fresh ingredients that would please your paleo guests.
Like a kosher diet, the halal diet is also dictated by religious beliefs. The Muslim text, the Qur’an, indicates what foods are not halal and therefore should be avoided. Most foods are halal, however, meat is only halal when it has been slaughtered in way that the Qur’an indicates.
The foods that are avoided by people with a halal diet include: pigs, alcohol, carnivorous animals (birds of prey), lard, and any animal products that have not been supplied by a halal slaughtered animal.
Halal certification is required for someone with this dietary restriction to consume the meat presented, and this may not always be possible when ordering catering for your event. Therefore, it is a good idea to have some vegetarian options for those following a halal diet. All vegetarian food will fit within the halal diet, and you will have some very satisfied guests if you serve up the exciting and varied vegetarian options from Delisse Cafe or Almond Bar.
A raw diet is exactly what it sounds like, people do not eat food that has been cooked. Actually, they don’t eat food that has been heated above 46 degrees celsius.
This means their diet consists mainly of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as raw nuts, sprouted grains or beans, and fresh herbs. It is very much a diet based on eating whole unprocessed foods.
In order to have some food that will last longer than fresh items, people who follow a raw food diet can dehydrate some foods. Instead of cooking something to remove the water, they use a dehydrator to make raw crackers and dried fruits.
To make sure the raw-ist among you has some good foods to eat at your next event be sure to provide some fresh fruit and veggie options. Or be adventurous and bring in some unique health food from Love Soup. They provide small batch, handcrafted, healthy wholefoods with many raw, vegan and gluten free options.