Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Even if you yourself do not have a restricted diet, chances are you probably know someone who does. Whether it is by choice or due to food allergies or intolerances, more and more people are becoming aware of foods that don’t sit well with their bodies and are consequently removing them from their diet.

With all these kinds of food restrictions and dietary needs out there, it can become a difficult task to host a successful dinner party where all your guests’ different tastes and requirements are catered to. It is becoming more common for you to ask your guests ahead of time about their food restrictions. With diets of Paleo, vegan, no carb, no gluten, as well as food allergies, it can be very difficult planning a menu that will meet everyone’s needs and likes. Hopefully it won’t discourage you to plan a lovely night in with your family and friends.

Fortunately, it has become a little easier to plan a meal with food restrictions. There are a lot more specialty foods available to purchase such as gluten free flours, vegan meats substitutions. Hopefully this means that no one will be stuck with just eating a side salad while the rest of the group enjoys a delicious main course. A guest with a dietary restriction may not be able to eat everything that you have prepared for the feast, but be prepared to make some changes to the menu so they feel just as welcomed to your party as everyone else.

It is just as important as a recipient of a dinner invitation to kindly let the host know of your specific dietary restrictions. This should be done in a tasteful, thoughtful and appreciative manner. A response such as, “Thanks so much for asking, I’m not sure if you already know, but Bill and I don’t eat meat, but we do however happily eat fish and seafood”. This is a great opportunity to give the host all the information they would need for their dinner party to be successful as well – making it a great night out with friends and family.

Tips for the Host:

  • Do your homework. Ask each guest of any dietary restrictions. If there is a restriction, ask what they can eat.
  • Ask specifically for recommendations or recipes.
  • Ask the guest to bring a dish or dishes to share.
  • Check out many menu options online that will suit their restriction.
  • Choose a menu that is simple and enjoyable for all your guests.
  • Be mindful of cross contamination.

Tips for the Guest:

  • Call ahead and inform the host of your restrictions.
  • Offer to bring a dish for everyone to enjoy.
  • Offer your advice if the host has any questions.
  • Have a snack or full meal if necessary before you go.
  • Be gracious and thankful for any menu changes they made for you.

If everyone is open and honest about dietary restrictions and menu options then there is no reason for the host or the dinner guests not to have an enjoyable meal.

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