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Entertaining Special Diets

Entertaining guests with food allergies, intolerances or diet restrictions can add stress to any host.

Food allergies are an immune reaction to specific proteins in food. It is estimated that 6% of children and 3 to 4% of adults in Canada suffer from potentially fatal food allergies. The most common food allergies include:

tree nuts
sesame seeds
fish, crustaceans and shellfish

While not as serious as a food allergy, the health implications of food intolerance can include stomach upset, headache, irritable bowel syndrome and fatigue. Common food intolerances include gluten, lactose and many of the same foods associated with food allergies.

Dietary restrictions include Kosher diets, Halal diets and various forms of vegetarianism. (Check out the links below for more info.)

Buffet-style meals are smart option when entertaining a variety of guests. Here are some helpful buffet tips to consider:

Request advance notice of dietary restrictions when you extend your party invitation.
Check products labels for potential allergens in order to inform your guests (they are typically found below the ingredient list). Use tent cards on the buffet table to flag any foods that contain common allergens.
Include some ready-made cold dishes to simplify preparation, such as Summer Fresh Hummus for a gluten and lactose-free veggie dip and warm Summer Fresh Bean and Grain Salads to provide a protein boost for vegetarians.
Ask the butcher for meats and/or poultry that are appropriate to serve your guests who follow Kosher or Halal diets.

Summer Fresh makes it easy to cook for all your guests by providing prominent on-pack icons that indicate which products are suitable for special diets such as gluten or lactose free, kosher or vegetarian.

Helpful Links:

Amy Snider-Whitson
President, The Test Kitchen Incorporated

Amy Snider-Whitson has developed nutrition programs and guided food marketers to use health and diet messages responsibly and meaningfully.

She employs a battery of nutrition databases and has contacts at the CFIA, USDA, FDA and ADA with whom she frequently consults to help make responsible claims that can help consumers to lead healthier lives.

Contact Amy at

Click to read Amy's Full Bio

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Nutritious Harvest Vegetables

Smart After School Snacks

Summer Salad Days

Weeknight Grill Buddies

Seven Layer Heaven

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Nutrition Myths

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Cupboard Clean-Up: Snack Attack

Holiday Party Survival Guide

Entertaining Special Diets

Thanksgiving Shakedown

Dinner Made Easy

Glycemic Index Primer

Summertime Switch Up

Just For Men

Mommy Love

Spring Bounty

Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Food

Food for the Heart

Countdown to improve your health

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