Have you ever noticed that nearly every event you attend includes a variety of foods?

Serving a variety of foods at your event may not always be practical, but it is always a good idea. For one thing, you want to make sure each guest has enough to eat.

An important reason for providing a balanced menu with a good variety of foods is so you can also accommodate any guests who have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies.

And of course, since food is probably one of the most important aspects of any event, you definitely want to make sure you’re planning a menu that fits everyone.

Photo courtesy of Powers Studios

Photo courtesy of Powers Studios

Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind for planning a balanced menu

Regardless of the type of event you are hosting, incorporating healthier food choices into the menu is a great start to achieving balance.

In general, a well-balanced menu includes fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains. The balanced menu should be limited in foods containing high amounts of solid fats, added sugars, and salt.

However, for those guests who have no food allergies or other dietary restrictions, the menu need not be restrictive. Allow for enough food so that guests can feel free to go back for seconds, or even thirds, if they choose. No guest should leave still feeling hungry!

We discuss strategies for creating balanced menus in one of our earlier posts, which you can find by clicking here.

In that post, we recommended the following for creating a balanced menu for your event:

  1. Learn who your attendees are and find out some specifics about them, such demographics, ages, and so on.
  2. Provide an assortment for each menu option.
  3. Consider creating a balanced menu which includes foods that perhaps contrast, as well as complement, each other.
  4. Customize your menu with seasonal and/or geographical options.

Provide menu alternatives which accommodate special dietary needs

Guests who have food allergies or other dietary restrictions should feel confident they will have enough food, as well as a variety of foods, that they can eat when attending events.

Fortunately, many caterers are now aware of the various dietary restrictions. As such, they are capable of preparing a balanced menu for events that not only meets the requirements for attendees with special nutritional needs, but that also taste great for anyone.

Labeling foods for nutrition and safety

We are seeing more nutritional labeling in restaurants, which the FDA is seeking to make a mandatory requirement. The primary benefit of nutritional labeling is to help consumers make healthy menu choices.

Food labeling is not mandatory for events, but it is an option you may also consider when serving foods. This will help support your guests who are focused on healthy, balanced eating.

Food labeling is also an excellent way to clear up any confusion for people who may have concerns about eating something they could potentially have adverse reactions from. Food labeling can help your guests who have dietary restrictions avoid foods they cannot eat while identifying the foods they can safely enjoy.

 

Following these guidelines should help you create a memorable and balanced menu for your event that all of your guests will enjoy.

 

Do you have questions or need help with planning a balanced menu for an upcoming special occasion you are hosting in the Portland area? We would love to help you with your questions or any other catering needs you may have.

Please feel free to either contact us online or call us at (503) 222-4553 anytime – we look forward to talking with you soon.