Millennial Nutrition

How to Throw a Party for All Dietary Preferences

08 March, 2017

How to Throw a Party for All Dietary Preferences

My gluten-free, dairy-free aunt and dairy-free cousin recently threw me the most spectacular baby shower. They thought of every detail–including how to please the over 30 guests with various dietary preferences.

First, they had a “mom-osa” bar which I appreciated greatly since alcohol is a thing of the past for me right now. I enjoyed sipping my sparking water with a splash of pineapple juice and fresh berries. Champagne was available for those who wanted to imbibe.

They also had a buffet of Greek food including hummus, baba ganoush, tzatziki sauce, pita bread, fresh cut-up vegetables, tabbouleh, and stuffed grape leaves. It was the perfect light meal for a shower and the buffet-style service allowed people to pick and choose the foods that were appropriate for them.

My aunt made two desserts–a scrumptious zucchini spice layered cake with traditional buttercream frosting and a platter of gluten-free white champagne cupcakes–so everyone could enjoy a celebratory treat.

If hosting a party, you are likely to have guests with diet restrictions or allergies and the last thing you want is for them to be left out of the food festivities. At the same time, trying to please everyone can be exhausting.

Follow these 4 tips to help you throw a party for all your guests, no matter their dietary preferences:

1. Get the details.

RSVP’s aren’t just for confirming attendance of your guests anymore. They are also important for you to gather insight on any special dietary needs. Whether you are having guests call, text, or email their response to your invitation, be sure to have them include any allergies or food preferences so you can plan accordingly.

2. Explore your options.

Once you know the dietary needs you’ll need to consider when creating a menu for your party, it’s time to jump on the computer and find recipes that will work. I stumbled on this resource with 30 collections of recipes for dietary preferences. You can also explore cookbooks designed for specific diets such as the Food52 Vegan Cookbook or the Deliciously Dairy-Free Cookbook.

3. Allow guests to customize their plates.

If you have guests with various dietary needs, it may be easier to offer a deconstructed menu and let guests build their own plates with foods they prefer. The key is to provide a variety of add-ins, condiments, and toppings. For example, you could have a build-your-own yogurt parfait bar with various fresh berries and fruit, regular Greek yogurt, coconut yogurt, nuts, gluten-free and regular granola, honey, and cinnamon. A salad bar or taco bar are also easy meal options that give guests options.

4. Offer two variations of the same meal.

You can also create two variations of one meal to please all your guests, such as a regular and a vegetarian chili dish. It may be more work for you, but your guests will appreciate the time and effort you put into making sure their needs were met. This is also a good option if the party calls for a specific or traditional meal.