These days, it feels like everyone you talk to has a new allergy, diet, or food sensitivity. From vegans to people who avoid gluten to friends who have decided to cut out sugar, it is a rarity to find someone who genuinely eats everything. If you’re planning an event, this changing reality can add pressure to the already stressful situation of choosing a caterer and menu.
Should your catered event include health-conscious options? The simplest answer is not very simple at all: It depends.
When choosing a menu, you want to first take into account what the event is and what you know about the attendees. Follow the guidelines below when choosing your menu, and remember — in the hands of a qualified caterer, you’re sure to come up with options to please everyone.
Consider Your Audience
It’s virtually impossible to know the food preferences and dietary restrictions of every single guest at your event, but you can use general knowledge about the demographics of your attendees to shape your catering and menu choices. In general, women are more likely to prefer health-conscious options than men — so if you’re planning an event for a women’s league, this would likely be appreciated. Likewise, millennials tend to have more dietary restrictions while baby boomers are easier to please. These are not hard and fast rules, but they’re worth taking into consideration.
Consider the Occasion
To some extent, the occasion will dictate how health-conscious your menu should be. Most guests attending a tailgate party or BBQ will expect hamburgers and hotdogs, and will plan ahead if they would prefer to eat something else. A luncheon or tea, on the other hand, suggests lighter fare — and most guests would assume that healthy options would be available. This is especially true if the event health-related, such as a yoga retreat or a health care seminar.
Please a Diverse Crowd
When planning a menu for a diverse crowd, think about ways to provide options that please everyone. For example, have a green salad option where higher calorie toppings and dressings can be added. This way, guests who are watching what they eat can still enjoy at their discretion. Chicken and fish can be prepared simply, and served with a creamy sauce on the side or a decadent side dish for those wishing to indulge.
Finding a Qualified Caterer
Luckily, you aren’t alone in choosing a menu for your event. A reputable caterer can give valuable advice about what options are a best fit for you and your attendees. Experienced catering companies know what dishes are typically popular with different crowds, and can make modifications or adjustments to any menu in order to best meet your needs.
If you’re looking for a qualified caterer, ask around with friends and family for recommendations. Have a conversation with any prospective caterers and don’t be afraid to ask questions to get a sense for a caterer’s personal health philosophy. You want to make sure that whomever you choose has both the experience and skills to provide excellent service at the right price.