Food intolerance and ethics are tricky subjects at many family dinner tables. But when your food issues clash–think vegan and Paleo–you can have some serious dinnertime drama when it comes to dietary restrictions. Implement our five ways to survive mixed food issues at family dinner to survive the struggle with ease.
Our family has several dietary restrictions. I’m a gluten-free (mostly) vegetarian and my daughter is dairy and nightshade intolerant. Between those two issues and the fact that the rest of the family eats meat, we’ve had a few challenges with eating one dinner. Through the years we’ve developed these tactics to enjoy eating together while taking into consideration everyone’s dietary restrictions.
1. Build-Your-Own Buffet: Instead of prepping a one-pot dish that only half the family will eat, try buffet style eating. Now, I’m not talking making three entrees. For instance, prepare all the fixins for tacos or burritos or even salads. Keep everything separate and allow each person to build their own version of the dish.
2. Protein on the Side: You can still make casseroles and even soups for the entire family. Just make the base–such as the rice or the soup–and cook the chicken and chickpeas, for example, separately. Each person can add their own protein at the table.
3. Sides Aplenty: Can’t figure out how to craft one dish for the entire family? Don’t! Serve a protein or two with lots of side dishes so everyone’s happy.
4. Grain-Free and Meatless: To accommodate nearly everyone at the table, you can’t go wrong with meatless and grain-free. Serve meatless, grain-feel meals several times per week to accommodate everyone and reduce your food prep stress. You don’t have to have meat with every meal, but if your meaty folks need something toothsome, try a few of our red meat substitutes.
5. Leverage Vegan-Paleo: While it sounds like an oxymoron, vegan-Paleo is possible. Dishes like Garlic Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes” or Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts and Jicama Hash can make everyone happy. And then there’s dessert. Try Peppermint Chocolate Macaroons, Holiday Bundt Cake or Sticky Rice.
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