Friends Having Lunch Together At Home

Navigating Dietary Restrictions at a Dinner Party!

Friends Having Lunch Together At Home

Seems almost everyone these days has a food allergy, restriction, or a dislike of at least something—myself included. A friend recently lamented—I have a kosher guest coming, another who is a vegetarian, and a third doesn’t eat fish—what is there left to serve?!

Since I have food restrictions myself, I usually remember to ask my guests for a list of what they do and don’t eat. Preparation and cooking is no easy task, so I want my guests to be able to eat and enjoy everything I put my time, energy, and money into.

If you’re on the other side of the equation—as a guest—the first rule of thumb is to be flexible, if you can. But if you do have a serious allergy or restriction, it’s best to politely tell your host at the time of the invitation.

And if you find yourself sitting at a table, looking at a plate of steak, instead of saying, “I don’t eat meat,” try, “I’m ok for now,” and enjoy the side dishes instead. Your host and guests will usually take the hint and leave it at that. I’m not big on desserts either, but that’s an easy one: “Dinner was amazing and I ate too much, but I’d love to take a piece of pie home, it looks delicious!”

Here is an easy party meal that usually gets around most dietary restrictions:

First Course:

Big Salad with dressing on the side. Keep fruit, nuts, and cheese on the side too. Guests can top their salad with what they do and don’t like. Offer olive oil and vinegar as an alternative to the salad dressing.


Simple vegetable soup in a vegetable broth

Second Course:

Brown rice or quinoa or roasted potatoes. Serve a garnish of toasted pine nuts and chopped scallions on the side.

Sautéed or roasted vegetable dish (onions, cabbage, carrots, kale, zucchini, red peppers, string beans, asparagus, and sweet potatoes are good options)

Second vegetable dish for those who don’t eat meat (steamed broccoli, baked potatoes, roasted squash)

Grilled Fish, chicken or meat. Serve on a separate serving platter for those with restrictions to animal foods.


Serve your favorite dessert, but offer fresh fruit, tea, and some chocolates too.

Carol Anne Wasserman is a holistic health practitioner specializing in permanent weight loss via the use of whole, natural and organic foods. Her cable TV show, Get Healthy With Carol, features quick and easy recipes that will get you started on the path to wellness. To learn more about Carol please visit

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