Catering for Dietary Restrictions – Everything You Need To Know

Photo: KQED

Photo: KQED


Dietary restrictions, whether for medical or lifestyle reasons, is something every event planner or caterer must take into consideration before preparing for an event. Fiestah is proud to house a vast selection of wonderful food vendors which are able to accommodate most dietary restrictions. Now we may not be aware of every dietary variation there is out there, but we wanted to explain a few of the common ones:

Gluten Free: Excludes gluten, a protein composite found in wheat and related grains, including barley, oats and rye.

Pepper Allergy: Excludes any form of cracked pepper corns and powdered pepper; even the black pepper you find in tabletop pepper shakers. It’s crucial to also consider accompanying foods used in preparation and served with most meals like marinades, sauces and dips, breads and wraps.

Peanut Allergy: Small, trace amounts of peanuts is enough to cause an allergic reaction so make sure different foods are handled separately and in a sterile environment if you have peanuts at your event. Peanuts can cause a severe, potentially fatal, allergic reaction.

Dairy Free/Lactose Intolerant: Foods that have no lactose. Lactose is a sugar that is a normal part of milk products.

Vegetarians: Excludes meat. Also avoid food containing by-products of animal slaughter, such as animal-derived rennet and gelatin.

Vegan: Excludes food produced by animals, such as eggs, dairy products, or honey.

Kosher: If your guests are keeping Kosher, they will be able to eat common menu items like beef and chicken, but pork and shellfish are not viable options. Kosher meats need to be butchered in a particular manner and Kosher meals need to remain sealed and only handled by Kosher caterers. Unless you have knowledge to the contrary, it is safest to assume for you to cater to the highest level of kosher observance so it might be best to consider sourcing for Kosher caterers to be able to accommodate those keeping to Kosher standards.

Halal: Most observant Muslims commonly abstain from consuming any pork, meats that have not been blessed in a particular manner, and alcoholic beverages. Similar to preparing for kosher meals,  the meats, ingredients, utensils, and ovens used need to adhere to Halal standards so it might be useful to seek out the many wonderful Halal caterers to help you with your events.

Hindu Diet: Hindu dietary traditions vary significantly across religious observations. Some attendees might eat meat, while many others may be strict vegetarians. Others will avoid meat – beef, in particular — and certain vegetables, such as garlic, onions and mushrooms. A good vegetarian meal may conform to this dietary tradition.

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