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Christmas Yumminess for Everyone: How to Cater for Different Dietary Requirements

by Maria Gatt

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Perfectly roasted turkey, buttery mince pies and indulgent Christmas logs...they are dishes that are an essential part of the festive season. However, have you ever stopped to think that not everyone can or would like to partake in these delicacies? That's why we've put together a few tips that will turn you in the perfect host for all your Christmas lunch guests, irrespective of their dietary requirements.

The increasing awareness and identification of food intolerances, allergies and dietary restrictions makes it more likely to have guests that cannot enjoy all the traditional festive treats that you may be in the process of preparing. This is coupled with the fact that many people are increasingly conscious of their food choices; it is estimated that there are more than 75 million individuals that follow a vegan or a vegetarian diet in Europe alone.

It is completely understandable to feel caught between wanting to be the best host possible but also feeling intimidated by the different eating habits of your guests. Fortunately, it's easier than you may think to create a memorable experience for everyone with a few tweaks here and there:

  • Prepare, prepare and then prepare some more! The key to a successful event is to have all the details pinned down. So, make sure to check with all the attendees about their dietary requirements before you start planning your menu.

  • Vegans and carnivores may seem to be on the opposite ends of the dietary requirements spectrum, however, it is possible to create dishes that both can enjoy. Start things off with a crowd pleaser like hummus for guests to nibble on while sipping their welcome drink, continue with a velvety cauliflower soup and create vegetable side dishes that everyone will like (our favourites include maple syrup roasted carrots, garlic mushrooms and stir-fried sweet peppers). 

  • Perfect your roast potato game! As long you don't go for the infamous duck fat roasted potatoes, this side dish can tick many boxes - it can be enjoyed by vegans, vegetarians, meat eaters, coeliacs and guests who can't eat dairy, it is incredibly easy to prepare, you can experiment with herbs and flavoured oils for different twists, and it's pretty inexpensive too.

  • Vegan food is not boring. There is the unfortunate misconception that vegan food is very restrictive, but this couldn't be farther from the truth. There are many delicious (and easy) mains that you can concoct for your vegan guests. How about quinoa-stuffed butternut squash or a mushroom wellington for instance?
  • Keep it simple when it comes to desserts. Your guests will probably be too full to enjoy a big dessert, so why not stick to strawberries covered in dark chocolate? Simple, elegant and it's something that everyone can enjoy.

  • Store bought is fine - to borrow a phrase coined by the Barefoot Contessa herself, it's not imperative that you prepare everything from scratch yourself. Supermarkets and health stores offer a large selection of quality items that are specifically made for people with different dietary requirements. So, it's ok if you opt for ready-made gluten-free mince pies or vegan creamy sauce...your guests will still appreciate the gesture.

The festive season is a time for coming together and making memories around the dinner table. With a little thought and effort, everyone will leave your house with a full belly and an even fuller heart.

Ready to start grocery shopping for a memorable lunch? Check out one of these supermarkets for everything that you might need for the big celebration!

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