Addressing Special Diets & Food Allergies

Do you all struggle as much as I do with selecting foods for events?

There’s so much to take into consideration.

There are women who must follow a low-sodium diet, a low-sugar diet, or a low-fat diet.

There are those that have food allergies such as dairy, eggs, or peanuts.

Others have a gluten intolerance.

There’s also a lot of women that are just trying to eat healthier.

God has been softening my heart over this issue for close to two years.

At our church back in Kentucky, three dear friends had to be on gluten free diets for medical reasons.

I got to see first-hand their struggles during church potlucks and women’s ministry events.

When someone you love has little on their plate and yours is overflowing, that’s hard.

God used this experience to remove my sorry sinful attitude about dealing with special diets and food allergies at women’s ministry events.

My old way of thinking: It affects so few women; surely they are used to dealing with it and will make their own needed arrangements. (I know – that was awful and extremely insensitive!!)

My new way of thinking: There needs to be effort made so that all women have something on their plate they can enjoy.

salad-enjoy

I’m not asking you to become gluten-free, low-sodium, or health food experts. But I am going to share some food ideas with you.

The basic thing to remember with gluten-free is that if it contains wheat – it contains gluten (other things contain gluten too, but that’s the first rule, if you will).

Here are some food ideas almost every woman will appreciate (whether they are trying to stick to a diet, avoid gluten, or eat healthy):

  1. Fresh Fruit
  2. Cut Veggies
  3. Make Your Own Salads – with serving utensils for each individual topping item (croutons have gluten and will cross contaminate your other toppings).
  4. Yogurt  – most are gluten-free; if setting up a yogurt bar, provide serving utensils for each topping.

What practical things can you do to make meals enjoyable for all of your women?

  • Save your packaging and labels so anyone with food sensitivities, diet restrictions, or allergies can read the labels.
  • Provide an alternative meal. Most caters are accustomed to fixing gluten-free and low-sodium entrees.
  • Consider including a spot on your reservation forms for women to notify you of any food allergies or special diets.
  • Allow women to bring their own food. If they aren’t eating the meal, reducing their ticket price would be much appreciated.

That little bit of extra effort will leave those women feeling loved and included.

I can’t end without sharimg that this has become a personal issue for me… This spring I needed to remove gluten from my diet. I now know first-hand the challenges of eating away from home.

Your turn to share: How do you handle food allergies and special diets at your Women’s Ministry events?

You may also want to read:
Fellowship Food Fix
Food Bars
10 Tips for Serving Food Faster