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Vegetarian? Vegan? Gluten-Free? What you need to know about dietary restrictions

| General, Trends

Planning an event where food is involved is quickly becoming a difficult task. Food allergies, dietary restrictions and personal dietary lifestyles have made for slim pickings if you choose to accommodate to every guests’ needs. How do you offer healthy alternatives to people with high blood pressure, diabetes or celiac disease, or people who don’t eat meat like vegetarians and vegans? What about people with food allergies? A lot of these terms may not be familiar to everyone, so we want to explain what it means when people say they are gluten-free or vegan to avoid confusion.

Vegan
Dietary vegans (or strict vegetarians) who refrain from consuming animal products or byproducts including eggs, dairy products and other animal-derived substances.

Vegetarian

Vegetarians don’t eat any sort of animal flesh. This includes beef, poultry, game, fish and seafood.  Any meat by-products, such as broth, gravy, fat, or foods cooked with meat are not acceptable either. Diet consists of leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and grains and on occasion eggs and dairy products.

Gluten-Free

This diet excludes all products that contain gluten. Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat including kamut and spelt, barely and rye. A gluten-free diet is the only medically accepted treatment for celiac disease.

Now, are there some easy ways to incorporate dishes into your menu without complicating the whole process? A good tip from Crave Catering is always choose dishes based on the lowest common denominator. So the most limited diet is the vegan diet. Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • – Homemade focaccia with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • – Roasted vegetable stack with marinated eggplant, grilled zucchini, red bell    peppers on grilled radicchio with pine nuts and salsa verde
  • – Muscat wine marinated fruits with a fresh mango & vanilla bean sorbet

Using quinoa, grains, and rice varieties can appeal to many of these diets. The use of gluten free flour is also a simple way to exclude gluten from desserts. Pasta stations where guests can pick their own ingredients is a great way to incorporate these diets into any event (be sure to include a gluten free pasta.) In order to avoid any conflicts at events or weddings, Crave likes to use proper tags on all of our dishes. With prior notice, we are also able to list individual ingredients and are happy to work around any restrictions or allergies your guests might have. Our chefs have the knowledge and culinary skills to appeal to any diet and customize it to your needs, so lets discuss menu plans! Give us a call or request our set menu to get an idea of some dishes that may work for your next event here. 

Make sure to check out the U.S. Department of Agriculture database on the nutrient values of ingredients as another great resource to use when in doubt! Download the data base for free on their website here.