Having dietary restrictions can make it more difficult for people to attend pizza parties or other food-centric gatherings, as they are always faced with the same burning question: will there be anything there for me to eat? Before you pick up the phone and order ten family-size pepperoni pizzas, stick with us to look at what you'll want to do to throw a pizza party for guests with dietary restrictions.
About sixteen million American adults have food allergies, and a little more than one in six Americans have been on a special diet at one point in their lives.
Having dietary restrictions can make it more difficult for people to attend pizza parties or other food-centric gatherings, as they are always faced with the same burning question: will there be anything there for me to eat?
You can help make your guests more comfortable and ensure they leave with a full belly by planning ahead. While some allergies, diets, and preferences are easier to accommodate than others in the realm of pizza, restaurants are increasingly offering options that suit a wide variety of diets.
Before you pick up the phone and order ten family-size pepperoni pizzas, stick with us to look at what you'll want to do to throw a pizza party for guests with dietary restrictions.
There's a good chance that someone at your pizza party is going to have a dietary restriction, allergy, or preference that you should know about before you get too far into the planning process.
Here are some steps you'll want to take to ensure everyone has what they need to indulge in some delicious food and not feel left out of the party.
Few problems in life can't be solved without a little advanced planning and communication, and dealing with guests with dietary restrictions is undoubtedly one of them. The most important step in throwing a pizza party when people have allergies, restrictions, or preferences is to reach out beforehand.
If you're planning a virtual pizza party for your remote team, you can ask everyone if they have dietary restrictions or preferences that should be considered. You might find that a significant portion of your team doesn't eat meat, for example, which could end up shifting your plans for the menu as a whole.
On the other hand, there might just be one or two people that have allergies to be accommodated. In this case, finding alternative solutions for those individuals makes the most sense; otherwise, carry on with your initial menu for the rest of the crowd.
It's also a good idea to find out what people are talking about when describing their dietary restrictions. Does Sally have a severe allergy to pineapple that will send her into anaphylactic shock if she so much as looks at one? Or is it just a taste preference?
This is important because you will want to make sure that people with allergies will feel comfortable knowing that their food was prepared on a dedicated surface that is free from allergens. This is something to take very seriously. On the other hand, a mere preference might mean that food prepared on the same surface as undesirable ingredients is no problem for them at all.
Even if no one on your team has an allergy or other dietary restriction, that doesn't mean you probably don't have some picky eaters on your crew. Asking in advance is the most important step, but planning a variety of options will also ensure that everyone is well-fed and happy by the end of your party.
After all, Jimmy might not feel it is appropriate to let you know that he would rather eat a paper bag than pepperoni when you're asking about dietary preferences. But if you're only serving pepperoni pizza, he's going to be disappointed and probably pretty hungry as the party rolls on.
If you're hosting an IRL pizza party, make sure there are a bunch of different options so everyone will have something delicious to eat. For example, you might have some cheese pizza, veggie pizza, meat lovers pizza, and a few other wildcard options for people to choose from.
Maybe you're taking your party to the next level with a make-your-own pizza party. In this case, consider offering lots of different common toppings so people can recreate their favorite variety of pizza as personal-size treats.
For virtual parties, you'll be able to ask each person what type of pizza they prefer to make sure they get exactly what they want. They might even have a favorite pizza place in their town where they'll be able to get their favorite pie to enjoy during the digital bash.
Depending on whether this is going to be an IRL or virtual party, sending out a menu ahead of time might not be exactly necessary. But if you're getting the crew together for an in-person shindig, giving everyone the menu ahead of time can help them rest easy knowing they will be able to fully enjoy the party.
People with dietary restrictions or preferences are often faced with a conundrum when going to a pizza or dinner party– namely, will there be anything there that I can eat, and should I eat beforehand just to be sure? You can sidestep this entire internal drama by giving people a head's up ahead of time regarding what will be served.
Want to take your pizza party to the next level? Consider having a virtual music DJ set the tone for the occasion or a rousing live trivia game.
People can be allergic to everything from garlic and bananas to onions and vanilla. For every food that people commonly eat, there's probably someone out there that's allergic to it.
Similarly, there are some pretty obscure diets out there, and there's a chance that some of your party attendees partake in them. Whether they only eat grapefruit or satiate themselves with cabbage soup, asking about dietary restrictions and preferences ahead of time lets you plan ahead.
At the same time, though, some food allergies and dietary preferences are far more common than others. Though it might not be likely that your party attendants are fruitarians, there's a good chance you've got some vegetarians or gluten-free adherents in the bunch.
Vegetarians don't eat meat for various reasons, whether environmental, moral, religious, or health reasons or some combination of these. Some vegetarians (technically known as pescatarians) will eat fish, but not other types of meat, and some (vegans) won't eat any animal products, including milk, eggs, and honey.
Coming up with vegetarian options at a pizza party is pretty simple– cheese pizza or pizza topped with a variety of veggies should do. Vegan choices can be a bit harder to come by, but a cheese-less pizza or a pizza with a dairy-free cheese substitute can be great choices. You'll want to make sure that there aren't any dairy products hidden in the sauce or crust at a given pizza place, and you can always provide something different (a salad or sandwich) for vegan guests if it's difficult to find a truly vegan pizza option.
There's a big range of people that follow a gluten-free diet– some do so because of the purported benefits of avoiding foods with gluten (wheat, rye, barley, etc.), while others have a chronic immune and digestive disorder known as celiac disease. Other conditions that require a person to follow a gluten-free diet include gluten ataxia, wheat allergies, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
A gluten-free diet can sound like a big problem when it comes to throwing a pizza party, but there are many options for gluten-free crusts out there. Some pizza places will offer crusts made out of cauliflower or gluten-free flour. If you're struggling to find gluten-free pizza options, your gluten-free guests could also be accommodated with an alternative meal such as a high-protein salad.
Another common dietary restriction is lactose intolerance, meaning that people don't have the ability to fully digest the lactose (aka sugar) in milk. This can lead to a host of gastrointestinal issues that are quite uncomfortable.
Since cheese is such a big component of pizza, you might think these guests are out of luck. However, so long as there is no dairy in the crust or sauce, you could get cheese-free pizza for these guests or a non-dairy cheese substitute if the restaurant offers it.
Once you have the food part of your party figured out, it's time to start thinking about drinks. One of the best ways to kick your pizza party up a notch is to combine it with a virtual happy hour.
When you send out your message asking about people's dietary restrictions, you'll likely learn that some of your guests are allergic to certain foods. Allergies can range from irritating to life-threatening, so it's important to take these seriously. You can ask in your initial message that people indicate whether they require a dedicated allergen-free cooking and preparation surface in order to safely eat the food or if that is not required.
In addition to milk and wheat as common allergens, there are a number of food allergies that are common:
Before ordering food for a person with a food allergy, you can communicate with the restaurant or service you are using about your guests' allergies. They can tell you whether their facility is completely free of certain allergies (such as tree nuts and shellfish) and if they have dedicated preparation surfaces for people with sensitivities or allergies.
People with severe allergies are likely used to needing extra precautions when it comes to eating out or attending parties. Some of them might just feel more comfortable bringing their own food so they know it was prepared in a way that won't harm them. If you'd like, you could throw some cash their way to cover the cost so they don't feel like they're losing out on one of the perks of the party.
Perhaps one of your guests only eats fruit that has already fallen from a tree, but this definitely isn't one of the most popular diets out there.
There's a good chance, though, that you'll run into one of the following when planning your party:
These are only a few of the popular diets out there, and people can vary greatly in terms of their adherence. Some guests might be happy to take a "cheat day" and indulge in some delicious pizza, while others might be much more strict. For example, someone on the Mediterranean Diet might be fine eating the salad dressing offered by a family-style pizza place, while others might not want to use anything that contains oils other than extra-virgin olive oil.
If all of this discussion about different dietary restrictions is leaving you overwhelmed, don't fret. We're here to help!
At PizzaTime, we specialize in throwing virtual pizza parties for teams around the globe. If anyone on your team has dietary restrictions, you don't have to worry in the slightest. We allow all guests to let us know about their dietary restrictions and preferences, and we do everything in our power to accommodate them.
Ready to plan your pizza party? You can start your order today.
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