Breaking Down Dietary Restrictions

By Tracy Stuckrath, November 23, 2015

The foodie culture we’re living in has created a tremendous change in what attendees expect from the food served at events. Gone are the days of simply beef, fish or chicken. Attendees want personalized, restaurant-style experiences with produce and proteins that are healthy, locally sourced and organic. But with that also comes a plethora of requests for special meals. Here, we break down the most common dietary requests and provide tips to manage them.

Food Allergies 

These are serious medical conditions affecting more than 225 million people. There are 21 foods regulated by 18 countries as the most allergenic, with eight of those foods said to cause 90 percent of all allergic reactions. In rare cases, symptoms can be fatal (anaphylaxis).

Celiac Disease & Gluten Sensitivity

Off-limits: Any food that contains gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye or barley

Why: This is a condition in which the body’s immune system responds to gluten by attacking the villi within the small intestine and prohibiting the body from getting the nutrients it needs from the food, causing long-lasting digestive issues.


Off-limits: All land (beef, poultry, pork, game) and sea (fish, shellfish) proteins and their byproducts (honey, milk, eggs)

Why: Individuals may eat vegan for the sake of animal rights, their health or the environment. However, vegan meals can be healthy for most attendees (food-allergic/celiac attendees may have an issue). They also can be helpful to your bottom line, as vegetables and legumes cost less than beef.


Off-limits: Grains, legumes (soy, peanuts), milk, refined sugar, potatoes, processed foods, refined vegetable oils, alcohol

Why: The foundation of the Paleo diet is to eat what our ancestors did thousands of years ago, which is real, natural foods that were readily available (e.g., animals, vegetables, fruits and nuts). Proteins should be grass-fed organic beef and wild-caught seafood.


Off-limits: Pork (and byproducts), alcohol, birds of prey, blood, carnivorous animals, meat not slaughtered in the name of Allah

Why: Under the Islamic Sharia law, Allah directs which foods are halal (allowed). Muslims are concerned about what is in food and how it was slaughtered. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from all F&B, including water, from dawn to sunset.


Off-limits: Meat and dairy at same meal, shellfish, pork, birds of prey, animals without cloven hooves that don’t eat their cud

Why: In short, because the Torah says so, even though it does not specify why. For observant Jews, there is no other reason. Some will follow strict Jewish dietary practices only during the holidays.


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