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Food Preferences

Did you know that there is a way to handle food requirements at an event?

If you have a food requirement, the standard etiquette was to let your host know at the point of R.S.V.P. After all, no one wants to call 911 due to an unknown, life-threatening reaction to nuts. Typical dietary requests included things like allergies to shellfish, nuts, dairy, or being vegetarian or vegan. As food awareness in the U.S. expands, food requests are no longer limited to life or death issues. Gathering to enjoy a meal with others can be challenging as hosts are now asked to accommodate a growing list of food requirements due to individual health concerns and ethics.

As a guest, it is always appropriate to let your host know if you have a food requirement that is life-threatening, but other dietary issues should be handled with caution. For example, you may be embracing a Keto diet for health reasons but expecting your host to provide a diet compliant meal might be extremely burdensome.

Consider these scenarios:

  • Dinner at a friend’s home. You may choose to say nothing and eat what you can from the food served or you could offer to bring a dish that meets your dietary needs.
  • A business event or a wedding. It is best to avoid asking your host to accommodate a particular diet. Instead, have something to eat before you arrive and consume what you can from the food served.

Navigating dietary needs when dining with others can be challenging, but it is well worth the effort. Shared meals provide valuable opportunities for social connection. Do not let food become a stumbling block that sabotages relationships. Keep your food requests to a minimum and actively engage in eating what you can. When you do, you will be remembered for all the right reasons.

What dietary challenges have you faced as a guest or host? We would love to hear from you!


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