The Accommodating Host: What to Do When You Have Guests with Special Diets
So here’s the challenge facing many hosts this season: Covering all the holiday classics, but still helping guests with dietary requests feel welcome.
Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and even paleo-friendly options can fit seamlessly into your menu — it just takes a little planning. Be a better host with these quick tips:
1. Ask guests to RSVP.
Include a note asking for any dietary restrictions along with a response. This gives you a chance to adjust your menu as needed, and guests may even offer to contribute a dish that suits them.
2. Make one dish that does double or triple duty.
Think about covering the bases with an all-in-one hearty dish that guests with a number of common dietary restrictions can enjoy. A delicious vegetable risotto, a hearty vegan stew or colorful main-course salad can be good choices for making sure everyone has something to dig into.
3. Read labels closely on packaged goods.
If you’re unsure, play it safe and ask your guest whether certain ingredients meet their dietary needs.
4. Place ingredient cards next to dishes.
For large crowds or buffets, ingredient cards next to dishes can help guests identify which foods are okay for them to eat.
5. Take stock of your stock.
Accommodate vegetarians and vegans by subbing vegetable or mushroom broth for chicken or turkey broth in soups, gravies and stuffing.
6. Pick up a few extra things.
Being a better host starts with being a better grocery shopper. When planning for your meal, consider grabbing some alternative flours for your gluten-free friends, or dairy-free subs for vegans. Check out these top recommendations for paleo, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free ingredients.