I love having people over for dinner, lunch or whenever. I just enjoy spending time with my friends and setting up around meals is usually the best for everyone. But there is a pressing question these days:
[faq] [faq_question]What do I fix for my friends or family with food allergies?[/faq_question] [/faq]
Well I hope to make it not such a daunting task – because it’s actually very simple. This will also be a good article to send to you friends if you suffer from food allergies or have a special diet, and they would love to have you over but are a little unsure of what to do.
First there are two ways you can deal with this:
- Have your guest bring their meal.
- Make your guest a safe meal.
I know it sounds really mean to ask someone to bring their own meal, but trust me, it’s not. If you aren’t able to make something, for whatever reason (time, money, etc.) don’t fear asking your guest to supply their own food. I know it’s like a code of society that the host has to make everything their guests eat, but food allergies, sensitivities, or special diets can sometimes make it impossible or extremely hard on the host. [quote_right]So don’t be afraid to ask. Just do it nicely.[/quote_right]
But that isn’t really what makes us uncomfortable to have people with “different” diets over is it? No it’s trying to make them a meal. That’s why I’m going to write the rest of this article about:
The Care and Feeding of “Special” Friends
Before we get into the really nitty-gritty stuff I want to remind you of 2 very important things:
1.) Don’t be offended if your guest wants to bring their own meal or decides to bring one anyway even after you’ve made a whole meal.
I know it may seem like we don’t trust you but please understand when we go out to eat at someone’s house we usually find out that the host has put something in the food we can’t eat or that there could be something in it that we can’t eat. Backup is usually a safe thing to have just in case. (I know because I’ve not eaten anything and waited to get home – I was starving!)
2.) Don’t stress about it!
Please know that your guest(s) are as happy and appreciative as they can be that you are willing to go out of your way to make them something to eat. That’s huge! Did you know that? Not many friends will jump that hurdle and it touches us very deeply.
[styled_box color="red" title="But don't feel like you have to:"]
- Make a huge meal.
- Impress us with a difficult meal.
- Or make a perfect meal.
[styled_box color="green" title="Instead:"]
- Keep it simple.
- Know which dishes are safe (especially important with things like peanut allergy).
- Treat us like normal guests.
I know it might be starting to sound a whole lot easier but usually it’s ourselves, the hostess or host, that makes it difficult. Now, on to the important steps you will follow in making you’re friend or family member a wonderful, safe meal!
Planning a Safe Meal
The first and most important thing you can do is to gather information. I’m not talking about surfing the internet and overwhelming yourself with data. Ask your friend “What can they eat?”. Just knowing, okay, no gluten or sugar can be a huge leap in dinner preparation.
Now plan, with your friend, a simple meal. Remember that you want to start simple (you’ll have chances to make harder or fancier ones later) and the wonderful thing about simple meals is they’re delicious. It can even be helpful to have your guest bring a dish they can eat for a side. In any case here are some menu ideas to get you started:
[quote_right]Be sure you read the tips at the bottom of the page to avoid common mistakes when making a special meal.[/quote_right]
- Roast Chicken, Beef, or Pork with Veggies
- Fish and Salad
- Grilled Chicken and Salad
- Hamburgers and Salad or Roasted Veggies
Since all that groundwork has been laid this last step is deceptively easy, go ahead, make your dinner and enjoy. Yes, it’s really that simple! If you want to add a dessert cooked fruit (in a little water and butter) is a great addition.
Tips for avoiding common mistakes.
- Keep your spices simple: Stick to using sea salt, fresh pepper, and fresh herbs. Most spices and spice mixes contain unwanted and even hidden ingredients.
- Read food labels: You might be surprised at what you find in simple things like mayo, ketchupÂ and pickles.
- Try to avoid as much prepackaged and processed foods as possible: Most of these foods contain unsafe ingredients for you guest. Usually only canned tomatoes are pretty safe just look for one with the least added ingredients as possible.
- Run through what you’ve done in your meal with your guest before you eat: This has saved me on several occasions, and I always appreciate when someone will take the time to tell me what they did because I can usually spot anything I can’t eat.
Do you have any tips? I would love to hear them! Just leave a comment below.
(If you still have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below or contact me and I will try to help you out.)