Successfully catering to diverse dietary needs
Dietary requirements can be difficult to navigate when it comes to catering for office events. Whether you have vegan coworkers, or if your boss is lactose intolerant, it’s still possible to create the perfect menu to ensure that everyone at your office can enjoy some great food.
Common allergies and intolerances
Before we begin designing a menu, it’s important to learn about different kinds of allergies, intolerances and diets. Knowing the ins and outs of a particular condition or lifestyle choice can allow you to facilitate them.
Coeliac disease is an allergy or intolerance to wheat. Some people choose to avoid wheat and gluten as a dietary choice. However, coeliac disease is a dangerous condition which can result in potentially fatal anaphylactic reactions.
- A mix of our deluxe rice paper rolls
- A selection of gluten-free salads like the quinoa and cauliflower salad or soba noodle bowl
- Gluten-free orange or lemon and poppy seed cakes
Foods to avoid: Pasta salads, banana bread, most cakes and biscuits.
Your dairy-free colleagues may have a genetic predisposition to avoiding products made from cow’s milk. This is very common, considering that many cultures around the world have never traditionally consumed dairy. In fact, humans are the only species to consume dairy into adulthood.
- Sweet chilli vermicelli chicken bites
- Tomato, basil and bocconcini skewers
- Tahini balls for dessert
- Soy or almond milk for tea and coffee
Foods to avoid: Cow’s milk, cheese, or yoghurt.
People with nut allergies exhibit an intolerance to peanuts, tree nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, and hazelnuts, or sesame seeds. These allergies are very serious and can range from rashes and swelling to throat closure and complete anaphylactic shock.
This allergy can be difficult to work around. Many sauces and some raw flours may contain traces of nuts. Let the team at Devour It Catering know, and we will create a tailored package for you.
FODMAP is an acronym that defines an intolerance to Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are the chemical names of sugars which the small intestine has difficulty absorbing, or does not absorb at all.
Common FODMAPs include:
- Fructose found in fruits and vegetables
- Lactose found in dairy
- Fructans found in grain products
- Galactans found in legumes
The FODMAP diet is complex and comprehensive. There are restrictions across all food groups, from vegetables to proteins. There are also intolerances ranging from No FODMAP to Low-FODMAP.
Ask the team at Devour it Catering about our low FODMAP menu items, and we’ll work with you to come up with some delicious alternatives.
As well as common allergies and conditions, there are also diets that people choose for ethical or lifestyle reasons. When catering for an event, it’s important to keep these in mind. Creating a great, welcoming menu is all about being considerate to the choices of all.
- Vegetarians do not eat meat, poultry, or seafood products
- Vegans do not consume animal products, including eggs and dairy
In this day and age, it’s easy to find delicious gourmet recipes that cater to vegan and vegetarian diets. We can recommend our:
We have a wide range of tailored platters to suit both vegetarian and vegan requirements.
Many religious around the world observe certain dietary restrictions based on their beliefs. As the workplace continue to become more and more diverse and accommodating, these religions must be catered for just like the exceptions listed above.
Kosher foods satisfy the requirements of Jewish religious law:
- No mixing of milk and meat products
- No seafood which has a shell (oysters, lobsters, and prawns)
- No pork products
- Other meat must be made ‘pure’ by a religious ritual
Halal means ‘permissible’ in Arabic, and is a consideration for many Muslims:
- Halal meat must not be cut from forbidden areas, like hindquarters
- Halal meat must also not come from pigs
Creating the perfect menu
Now that you are aware of all the different kinds of dietary restrictions, it’s time to understand how best to implement them.
1. Pair up diet needs
If you’re catering for several different allergenic or lifestyle dietary requirements, you can kill a few birds with the one stone.
Say, for instance, that four vegans, three dairy-free people and two gluten-free people are in attendance. To keep them well fed and to cut down costs, you could order a rice salad. Our range of soups is also highly versatile, and comes in a range of gluten, dairy, and meat-free options.
2. Stay within budget
When you’re working with limitations like no wheat and lactose, it can be hard to offer your colleagues variety without going over your budget.
We understand the importance of high-quality food at affordable prices, and we offer our range of salads, frittatas and platters in flexible serving sizes.
If only one gluten-free person is attending the next business meeting, you can order a single serving of menu items, like the roasted vegetable and chickpea salad.
3. Have a back-up plan
Even the best-laid plans can go astray. Some of your colleagues might have forgotten to mention a special dietary requirement, or maybe you’ve under-catered for the vegetarians in the room — either way, you’ll need a back-up plan.
Make sure you order a few extra options to cater for all dietary requirements. Having a bit of extra food is not the end of the world. You can offer it to others, or store it in the fridge for a time.
Contact Devour It Catering
At Devour It Catering, we don’t just cater to all kinds of dietary needs — we also provide the freshest food in comprehensive and flexible packages to suit any office event.
If you’re looking to order for your next work event, we can offer you affordable, yet delicious food options for every meal of the day, delivered all over Melbourne. Contact our team to find out more.