Food Allergy Awareness: Don’t Serve This, Serve That RomarioIen on Thinkstock by Getty Images

Food Allergy Awareness: Don’t Serve This, Serve That

Accommodating your meeting attendees’ food allergies and food preferences can seem daunting. Here are some quick switches that you and the executive chef can make to create easy meals and snack breaks that avoid common food allergens. (Click here to learn more about the eight most common food allergens.) 

Breakfast:

SWAP THIS

FOR THAT

Danish, sweet rolls, doughnuts

Smoothies made of fresh berries, avocado, coconut oil, sunbutter (like peanut butter but made from sunflower seeds), flax meal, and (optional) almond milk. 

Oatmeal bar

Oatmeal made with certified gluten-free oats, and served with choices of fresh fruit, honey, cinnamon, and nuts. Keep nuts in a separate serving container to avoid contaminating the other ingredients.

Egg casserole

Scrambled egg bar or fresh omelet station. This allows attendees choose allergy-safe toppings for their eggs.  Provide sautéed mushrooms and vegetables, avocado, salsa, fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, and warm corn tortillas for a fun breakfast burrito bar.  

Yogurt station

Provide a yogurt station that includes dairy-free yogurt options along with regular yogurt. Almond milk, coconut milk, and soymilk yogurt options are readily available. Offer fresh berries and gluten-free and nut-free granola as toppings. 

 

Lunch & Dinner:

Pasta

Provide a gluten-free pasta option for those who have a gluten/wheat allergy or offer a gluten-free grain as a substitute. (Quinoa is a great alternative.) You can also offer to serve the pasta sauce over spinach and sautéed vegetables. This will provide a hearty, satiating meal. 

Hamburger/chicken/deli-style sandwich

Offer a bean burger made from gluten-free brown rice and vegetables. This provides the vegan diner an option, and you can serve a hamburger, bean burger, or sandwich in a lettuce wrap for gluten-free diners. Iceberg or romaine varieties are often best for lettuce-wrapped sandwiches.

Salad

Salads make a wonderful meal, however if it’s pre-plated with common allergens such as cheese, nuts, and croutons, it could cause an issue.  Create salads that mainly consist of vegetables and fresh fruit, and include a healthy protein source such as fish, meat, or tofu. Just as you place various salad dressings on the table, provide toppings for attendees to add, such as fresh goat cheese, shredded cheddar, sunflower seeds, chopped almonds, and croutons.  You’re bringing the salad bar right to their table! 

Bread basket

There are plenty of attendees who still love the big bread basket, however, gluten-sensitive attendees will appreciate freshly chopped vegetables and dip on the table, or offer a gluten-free cracker-and-hummus option.

These small changes will create an environment of inclusiveness your attendees will be thankful for. While you may still encounter specific dietary needs beyond these recommendations, you’ll be caring for many concerns up front. What a wonderful way to honor your attendees, create an environment of ease, and gift them health without them having to ask for it. 

 

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