Between allergies and special diets like gluten-free and vegan trying to find party foods to serve that everyone can eat is becoming increasingly difficult ... and that's before people's New Year's resolutions start to kick in.
The first thing to remember is that unless you're planning a dinner party you don't actually have to provide a ton of food that everyone can eat. People with restricted or special diets know better than to come to a party hungry. It's polite and thoughtful to include a few dishes that everyone can eat, but not everyone has to eat everything that you serve. Remember also that almost everyone can eat fruits and vegetables.
If you're serving cheese and crackers, provide slices of cucumber or apple that can be used in place of the crackers for those on wheat or gluten free diets. Your vegan (no animal products, including dairy) friends can munch on the slices without the cheese, as can those trying to lose weight. Separation is also key. Nuts provide a great and filling food for vegetarians and gluten-free folks, but are obviously a problem for those with nut allergies. Bowls of nuts can be set out away from the other foods, and any food with "hidden"nuts should be labeled. Although "veggie shooters" small cups with veggies and dip have become popular and look great, they're not great if you're expecting guests with different restrictions.
Photo Courtesy of The Hip Hostess
But, presentation is important. Simply presenting simple foods attractively can go a long way towards making your guests feel satisfied. What are your go-to foods for mixed diet groups? Share in the comments.