Cooking For The Family When You Have Different Nutritional Needs

I’m sure as a parent you have experienced that nightmare situation where you are cooking a big meal for the entire family, but there are some folks that can't eat nuts, some that are vegan and others that are on a low sugar diet. Not only can this be pretty stressful, but also increases the effort and time you need to devote to food preparation. But what can you do when an issue like this occurs? Read on to find out?

nuts-1736520_1280.jpg

Allergies
First of all, when dealing with allergies, you have to be super careful. This is because they are not just a matter of preference but a recognized medical condition that can make the person without ill if they do consume a particular type of food.

Common allergies to watch out for are nuts, something that you can read more about at - teenshealth.com. Such allergies include peanuts, nut oil for cooking, and nut butters.

Gluten allergies are also more commonly being diagnosed now. This is known as celiac disease, and it's not a ‘choice.’ It's a real thing where the consumption of gluten can cause a very nasty reaction in a person system, so gluten must be avoided at all costs. You can find out how it’s diagnosed at - webmd.com. The problem here is that gluten is in very many items, so always check the label of all products even meat like sausages and ham, as well as sauces before serving them.

To prevent triggering food allergies when cooking for your family, you must be careful of any cross contamination of the problem ingredient, using gloves, clean prep boards and the like.  Of course, it's best to leave it out altogether, as for some sensitive individuals foods that have been prepared in the vicinity of the allergen are enough to trigger them off. If you have any doubt, it's best to err on the side of caution to avoid the ingredients all together.

Veganism and Vegetarianism
Another nutritional need that may come up when you're cooking for the family is vegetarianism and veganism. Vegetarian don't eat meat or fish, while vegans avoid any animal products at all including milk, cheese, and gelatin. Something that makes it a little harder to cater for.

clay-pot-622750_1280.jpg


If you are cooking for a vegetarian, some may be happy to have the meal as normal with just the meat part removed. Others will not want their food to have come into contact with the meat at all, in places such as in the over or on the grill.

However, when cooking for a vegan, you may have to be a little more creative in what you offer. As the usual trick of replacing meat with something made from cheese and eggs, used for vegetarians can't be done.

breakfast-21707_1280.jpg

Instead use online resources like this ultimate vegan baking guide - cakejournal.com, as well as main meal recipes that you can cook without any animal products at all. Remember there are lots of replacements and alternative that you can use tofu instead of eggs, and many supermarkets now have their own vegan lines to make things a little easier for you.

Exclusion diets
steak-353115_1280.jpg

Lastly, some folks in your family may be following an exclusion diet. This is where they limited the amount of a certain, food group in their diet. Popular diets that work on this principle at the moment include no carbs, no refined sugars, and the paleo diet.

lump-sugar-549096_1280.jpg

While allergies and moral choices like veganism must be strictly respected, there is a little more leeway on this type of nutritional need. That means you can decide whether to cook into line with their specific requirements or not.

This can work, as many people are happy to use such as meal as an excuse for cheat day, where they are less strict with themselves. Although if you are not certain, it can be helpful to ask them what they would prefer.

Of course, if you do end up cooking in line with these nutritional requirements it may take you outside of your comfort zone. But luckily there are many resources like - robbwolf.com, as well as cookbooks and blogs that you can consult to get some ideas of how to make a decent meal without using the ingredients they are trying to avoid.

If all else fails, you can also always ask them to bring something they will be happy to eat. Then try it and if you like it, get the recipe from them and make it for next time.

8 comments

  1. I would be such a challenge to do that - cooking for a family that has varied dietary needs. I think your tips are great, and even though we don't have any special diets in my family, I would still bookmark this article and refer it to people I know.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for writing this, sometimes people get confused about the difference between Vegans and Vegetarians so this was a really helpful guideline. I am a vegetarian x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thankfully I don't have this to the extent that some families do-- my nephew is allergic to everything. I am honestly glad I don't have that because it would drive me nuts. We have the vegetarian thing, and that is more managable.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yep. I'm currently doing the Paleo diet and CONSTANTLY running into the problem of not wanting others to go out of their way to cook for me.. but not being able to eat what they make, either. So I tend to follow your advice and just bring some of my own dishes as well. (this way I know there's at least one thing I can eat)

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is interesting, I have never thought of this but it is so true, especially if one has kids you have to think about the food you are cooking to be enough for them but not to overstuff them. It can always be seen very well what kind of food is cooked in the family because the kids and parents look alike when it comes to weight, fat parents are more likely to have fat kids because of the bad eating habits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes. because we parents especially moms are the one responsible for what our family eats though the father provides the financial matter

      Delete
  6. We have a family of picky eaters & with dietary restrictions! These are some good tips!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Woo.... I found this post really interesting! Yes, you need to be really picky when it comes to nutritional needs. Found it useful. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

Loading...