What gives any a conference planner heart-burn? No, it is not the spicy sauce. It is dietary restrictions and those that tell you “I can’t eat that”. Ali McQueen Cannon, a global account manager for HelmsBriscoe, recently shared three quick suggestions to relieve the indigestion of trying to accommodate everyone’s food limitations.
Instruct the catering team to label all food items. This helps those with food allergies or issues. This would include labeling items that include gluten, eggs, tree nuts, dairy, shellfish, soy and of course peanuts. It is important to even label foods that might affect guests with a gluten sensitivity. For example, grilled chicken that has been dredged in flour is not acceptable for someone that has gluten issues.
Break it down. Cannon reminds us due to people’s dietary issues, many can no longer enjoy a salad filled with bacon bits, cheese, croutons and hard-boiled eggs. However, a plain salad can be served with various toppings and dressings separated on the side. Meeting attendees can choose what they like. Many venues know offer “build-your-own” sandwich bar, which can include grilled meats, veggies, variety of breads and assorted toppings.
Go Greek – Actually Mediterranean
Since a Mediterranean diet is plant-based with lean protein, limited dairy and no sugar, it gives planners the most flexibility. Cannon mentions a vegan can substitute the meat for a special veggie entrée. Those that struggle with celiac disease can be served rice or potatoes rather than bread or pasta. The diabetics in the group will appreciate the no added sugar.
Don’t let those with dietary restrictions give you a stomachache. Work with the Chef or catering team, discuss all options and try to incorporate these three basic tips to ensure your function’s meals are enjoyed by all.