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Hosting Vegetarians…Or Anyone with a Dietary Restriction.

July 5, 2012 by Katie

As you may know, we just moved to Boston. It’s always exciting to meet new people, and make new friends–especially in a new city. But, being vegetarian sometimes makes it a little awkward when we’re invited to dinner. I hate putting people out, so part of me likes to avoid saying something. But, at the same time, I know it’s more awkward if I get somewhere and the host has lovely made us pot roast or beef stew–something I can’t just pick veggies out of.

I’ve had a couple of conversations with people recently about dietary restrictions, food allergies, and being a good host. If you’re hosting people for dinner–especially those you don’t know well enough to know their dietary preferences, here are a few tips:

1. Inquire about Preferences

Thankfully, my husband is usually quick to tell people I’m vegetarian. For which I’m very thankful–it can feel awkward telling people because I feel like it puts pressure on them to make something special to accommodate my diet. As a host, it’s always helpful to ask when you invite people over for dinner–do they have any dietary restrictions or aversions? You may find out someone is deathly allergic to nuts, or if they just really don’t like mushrooms. Whether it’s a health issue, or just a preference or strong aversion, it’s always nice to be able to accommodate the people you’re hosting.

2. Seek Advice

If you’re a meat and potatoes family, and you are having a vegan over for dinner–feel free to ask around to find out some new ideas. There are great resources online, and plenty of cookbooks if you stop into a bookstore to get some inspiration. Some dietary restrictions can be a little overwhelming–if you get stuck feel free to call your guest and ask for advice. When someone has a dietary restriction, they are used to getting questions and having to come up with creative meal ideas. They may be able to help you figure out how to make what you were already going to make–but with a few adjustments so that they can have some too.

3. Ask them to Bring Something

If you’re really stuck, feel free to ask your guests to bring something. If you are having a vegan friend for dinner, you could ask them to bring along a vegan main course–let them know what else is on the menu. Explain that you’d love to make them something, but aren’t confident you will be able to make something they’ll enjoy. This way, you know they will like whatever they eat. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for you to see an example of a vegan main dish that you could recreate for your next dinner party.

These days, many people have dietary restrictions, preferences and adhere to special diets for a plethora of reasons. It’s always fun to be able to accommodate guests and it’s a great opportunity to try new dishes!

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Do you have any dietary restrictions or preferences? What other tips would you add to the list?

Katie

Katie is a freelance writer, writing mostly about her love for travel and, of course, food. Her husband, Marc, is a web developer and photographer. The newlyweds have visited 15 countries together, and Katie's on track to have visited 30 countries by her 30th birthday.

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