It’s the holidays! Time for music, crowds, parties and food! As someone with food restrictions, going to dinner or a party at someone’s house is a bit of a gamble as to whether I’m going to eat or not.

I am gluten & lactose intolerant which restricts a lot of dishes and because I’m not comfortable asking the hostess to purchase or make special dishes for me I’ll ask if I can bring anything. But sometimes I’m told they have it covered and they go to the trouble and expense to make a gluten free dish that has dairy in it or vice versa and I feel like garbage for not eating a dish they prepared especially for me.

Besides intolerances, many people have chosen different dietary lifestyles such as vegan and paleo and it is confusing to others. Here are a few tips from me on what to do when hosting a dinner party.

Photo Credit: Melange Events

Photo Credit: Melange Events

1. Check with Guests when you invite them 

Before you hit send on that e-vite or text, maybe just add “please let me know if you have any dietary restrictions”. This will make the person feel more comfortable telling you and it’ll get a dialogue going.

2. Ask them to bring something (especially dessert)

If you know someone has restrictions ask them to bring a dish for themselves. Chances are they won’t mind at all because they’ll know they can eat. And it’s hard to find a gluten free/dairy free dessert so if you’re planning a sugary spread, maybe ask them to bring something for themselves. The person will not find this rude in any way! Most people with dietary restrictions hate to feel like they’re being an inconvenience and don’t expect their hosts to go out of their way for one person.

3. You can’t fail with meat and vegetables

Stock up on lots and lots of veggies, salads with dressing on the side, etc and you will feed almost every restriction out there. And unless vegan or vegetarian, meat also works for almost every other common restriction.

4. Don’t tell them how inconvenient their restrictions were for you

Please don’t. Even if you say it jokingly “I went to the speciality store and got this just for you and it cost $XXX. Ha ha” or “It was so hard to make your special dish because I needed to use so many ingredients/it took so long, etc”. That just makes us feel like garbage for something we can’t control. Unless you’re my grandma, don’t give me a hard time.

Hope this helps a little! Merry Christmas!


  • Amber @ Exsoycise December 12, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Great post! I have food allergies/sensitivities and am soy, dairy and gluten-free. It’s a challenge every single day but especially in social settings. I especially love #4 because people (especially family) often don’t understand that for many of us, we have no choice but to restrict these foods four our health and we WISH we could enjoy some of the yummy foods that everyone else was enjoying. I’m sharing this now! Thanks and Merry Christmas to you!

    • Betty LIVIN December 12, 2014 at 9:18 am

      It’s really hard when people don’t understand or believe your restrictions (that damn article about gluten intolerance being fake has made my life a little harder). I’m hoping this will help clear it up a little and make holiday dinners a little merrier!

  • aladygoeswest December 12, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Hi Betty! This is my first time stopping by via FFA, and I’m so glad I did. I was interested to read this post. I don’t have any food restrictions, but as a healthy living person who sometime hosts, I definitely wanted to see what you had to say. I would have NEVER thought not to mention the effort it took to procure the specialty foods hehehe. Thanks for sharing. And have a wonderful weekend!

    • Betty LIVIN December 12, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      Glad you found it helpful. You wouldn’t believe how often I feel guilty when people talk about all the extra time and money they put into preparing me special dishes. I would rather just bring my own!

  • GiGi Eats Celebrities December 12, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    ALL of my friends/family know I have tons and tons of food restrictions, I just say, as long as you have NAKED meat and veggies made with olive oil, I will be GOOD to go! 😉

    • Betty LIVIN December 13, 2014 at 9:39 am

      Exactly! Meat and veggies is good for everyone except vegans and vegetarians, then it’s just veggies. Lots of veggies!


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