If you’re the person in your organization planning a party, meeting, conference, or luncheon, there’s a lot of pressure and external factors that can make your job tough. From choosing a venue to selecting entertainment, speakers, or food, it’s a lot to take on.
Planning for meals can be difficult with a variety of food allergies, sensitives, and restrictions amongst your attendees. Here we’ll give a few tips for making this process a little easier on the company planner.
Before you start thinking about food and which vendor to choose, it’s important to survey your attendees. Ask them to respond with their name and any food allergies or restrictions. Also, make sure to have them include specific diets — like if they are vegetarian, gluten-free or vegan, for example.
Put together a list with their names and their responses so that you know how many of each dietary restriction to accommodate — and who should receive each meal.
Choosing a caterer
When looking for your caterer, it may be best to call and have a conversation about the different allergies and dietary restrictions you need to accommodate. See if they’re up to the task and what their strategy is to keep these individuals safe and comfortable.
One option is to ask the caterer to make all separate meals. It can be a plated or boxed meal, depending on the type of event, that the caterer can then keep separate from the others.
If you choose to have a buffet, it will be primarily for those without food allergies, as their meal will likely have to have a meal prepared separately by the caterer. It can be difficult to monitor and ensure there is no cross-contamination in self-serve buffet lines. Having a separate table for these items might also be helpful.
Deciding on desserts and drinks
Drinks and desserts are (hopefully) the simplest part of planning for your event. Provide a variety of drink options like sparkling water, soda, juice, coffee, and water, and attendees should be able to find something that works for them.
Your caterer or baker should be able to help you provide enough options to accommodate your group’s different dietary restrictions. Create labels — like “dairy-free“ and “gluten-free” — so folks know which desserts will be best.
Allergy treatment options
If you’re personally struggling with food allergies, consider treating the cause with allergy drops. After successful treatment following the La Crosse Method™ Protocol, patients may gain a level of safety in case of accidental exposure, and some may be able to reintroduce the food back into their diet, making holiday get-togethers even more enjoyable.
Find a provider near you for allergy testing and treatment.