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Region 5 Blog August 9th, 2022
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Consumer Health Minute: Including Everyone at the Table

Posted by on December 2nd, 2021 Posted in: Consumer Health
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Ah, the holidays are upon us. Over the next month people will be attending a variety of social gatherings with family, friends, and colleagues. Most if not, all will include food which can be tricky to navigate whether you’re the person with a food allergy or intolerance OR the one preparing the food.friends gathered around a holiday table

How do you make sure to accommodate the many dietary needs of guests?

First, take some time to learn about your guests and ask everyone you invite if they have food allergies or food intolerances. Don’t assume you know. Ask in the invitation and word it such that you will do your best to accommodate but if they can provide any tips those would be welcomed.

Also, in the invitation, add a line about wanting to accommodate dietary needs and why it is important. Educating your guests can bring awareness.

Learn about food allergies. Some of your guests may have dietary preferences due to religious, cultural, or personal reasons. For others, this can be a matter of health as well as a serious medical condition. No matter the reason, take time to educate yourself about food allergies and preferences.

Consider the menu where it can accommodate most people. You may not be gluten-free but you most likely can eat gluten-free foods. Your faith may not require you to abstain from pork but pork is not required at a meal (though some may argue with tradition). Worried that you’ll be serving a tasteless holiday spread? An abundance of cookbooks, blogs, websites provide tasty options as well as tips to prevent cross contamination. Here are a couple:

Provide ingredient information on a card beside each food and drink item. Be aware that condiments are comprised of many ingredients. Fewer ingredients may also be helpful. For example, roasting brussels sprouts with just olive oil and a little salt and pepper can be tasty without adding a cheese sauce.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the thought of accommodating everyone’s dietary needs but consider it an opportunity to learn more about allergies and personal food preferences. You’ll become more knowledgeable and be better prepared for future events and your guests will be grateful for your thoughtfulness and hospitality.

Additional resources:

Image of the author ABOUT Carolyn Martin
Carolyn Martin is the Outreach and Education Coordinator for the NNLM Region 5. She works with various libraries and community organizations to increase health literacy in their communities.

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Developed resources reported in this program are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012343 with the University of Washington.

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