People come from far and wide to attend events, and every single person has specific eating preferences, allergies, or diets. Some diets are often disclosed when event planners inquire about dietary restrictions. Others wait until a meal is placed in front of them to determine if they can eat it. Whatever the case may be, as meeting & event planners we have to be prepared to provide a variety of options for our guests so that they feel welcome and get nourished while at our events. There are many diets out there these days, and knowing what to serve based on the diets that your attendees are on, can be taxing. Here 5 popular diets your attendees are on, and some tips to help you manage them.
The Paleo Diet mimics the food that our ancestors used to eat, such as game meats, fish, vegetables, wild fruit, eggs and nuts. When thinking about adding paleo options, think about adding hard-boiled eggs or an omelette station to your breakfasts, plentiful vegetables and lean meats to lunches and dinners, while giving all meals great fruit options. This group will appreciate being able to indulge in “natural” selections, and will thank you for it.
Low Carb Diet
Low Carb attendees center their eating habits around keeping carbohydrates to a minimum. Low Carb diets usually include very lean meats in meals, such as chicken and turkey, and completely avoid bread. Providing foods high in protein will satisfy the palettes of those on the low carb diet. What about fruits and vegetables? Fruits and vegetables are also acceptable in this diet plan – but keep an eye out for those with higher carbs like potatoes.
Vegetarian diets vary widely, but usually include many forms of beans to create a complete protein, as well as salads, starches and other types of vegetables. In addition, some types of vegetarians do eat fish, eggs and dairy. It is important for an meeting & event planner to clarify what type of vegetarian their attendee is, due to the types of vegetarian diets out there. Knowing the type of vegetarian your attendee is will help identify if you can add certain options like fish, eggs, and dairy to your event menu.
Gluten Free Diet
The Gluten Free Diet is hot these days. Gluten is a substance that is present in cereal grains, bread, and other similar starchy items. The main culprit with gluten is wheat products. Attendees that are operating on a gluten-free diet can either be doing it for dietary purposes, or they are managing a more serious issue. Celiac disease usually is prominent in those that need a gluten-free diet. To manage gluten-free attendees, try to avoid previously mentioned items like grains, bread, crackers, and all wheat products. Some hotels or venues partner with local organic stores to obtain gluten-free breads so that they can make their attendees feel more included. If this is an option, explore it. Some great starch alternatives for gluten-free attendees are rice, quinoa, corn, beans, potatoes, peas, tapioca, and yucca. If you are needing more alternatives to try, take a look at this link.
Mediterranean diet is a diet that consists of consuming un-refined, unprocessed food such as fruits and vegetables that are completely natural. Providing food that has not been refined, as well as a variety of different fruits and vegetables will satisfy attendees with this diet preference. Other food selections that are nice to see with this diet are healthy grains, olives, fish, red while, and olive oil.
As you can see, several of these diets have similar themes which help finding options to fit all. For example, providing natural fruits and vegetables covers all of these options. In short, many people are trying to eat as naturally as possible. Making sure your menus have these options will ensure happier and healthier attendees. What new diets have you seen lately?
Photo credit: Jeanette Goodrich via Flickr