Hosting team lunches at the office is a great way to build rapport with your colleagues. It helps foster better relationships within the team, which has a direct impact on productivity. It also shows that you care. Sixty-seven percent of workers who had access to free food at work were reported to be very happy with their jobs.
Unfortunately, dietary requirements are often not taken into account while ordering food at work. This can pose a considerable challenge for those who suffer from food intolerance, allergies, or need special food for religious reasons. While intolerance can result in unpleasant symptoms like nausea or stomach cramps, allergies are potentially fatal. Understanding dietary concerns can help you pick the right items while ordering from cater companies. That’s why we have compiled an easy to understand guide, so no one feels left out at the lunch table.
What are the most common types of dietary requirements?
This is a common dairy sensitivity where the body is unable to produce hormones needed for breaking down lactose. As a result, a person suffers from bloating, diarrhea, cramps, and other GI issues when exposed to dairy products. Most common food items such as yogurts, milk, ice cream, chocolate, and cheeses contain dairy.
When ordering lunch for anyone with lactose intolerance, look for items that are made from dairy-free alternatives such as almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk.
This is a condition where the body has an adverse reaction to gluten consumption. Gluten is a protein that is found in staple grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. A person suffering from gluten sensitivity will find it challenging to consume items like bread, cookies, whole-wheat pasta, and cakes. For such people, gluten consumption can lead to bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, and stomach pain. Interestingly, the intolerance levels can be tricky — while some have celiac disease, an auto-immune disease due to extreme gluten intolerance, others may only exhibit a mild sensitivity.
As it may be difficult to determine the extent of intolerance, always opt for a few gluten-free items made with quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, or buckwheat.
An allergic reaction can get triggered when a person’s immune system overreacts to certain proteins found in nuts. Allergy to peanuts is one of the most common nut allergies. Usually, one may experience tightening of the throat, runny or swollen nose, and rashes due to even the slightest contact with nuts.
You need to ensure that none of the ingredients of food items contain any traces of nuts. For extra caution, you should also ensure that your local caterer labels the food items correctly and doesn’t prepare items in an environment exposed to nuts.
Kosher or Halal
Those who follow Kosher guidelines cannot consume shellfish and pork. They can only consume meat that is butchered in a specific manner and cannot consume dairy with meat/meat-based derivatives. Similarly, those who follow Islam can only consume meat slaughtered as prescribed in the Quran.
It is best to check with your corporate caterer if they prepare food items per Kosher and Halal requirements.
Need help with planning office catering?
Putting together a catering menu that takes care of dietary requirements can be challenging, especially if you have a large team.
CaterCurator offers an office catering program that gives you access to customized meal programs based on food and allergy preferences. Simply let our food experts know about your requirements and receive food items tailormade for your needs.