Navigating Catered Events When You Have Dietary Restrictions

How do you navigate client dinners or catered events when you need to eat a certain way? I always feel like such a diva about it.

dinnerKara Martin Snyder offers pragmatic health & lifestyle options for frazzled entrepreneurs with all heart and no bullsh*t. Take care of you as much as you take care of business.


Jennifer writes: How do you navigate client dinners or catered events when you need to eat a certain way? I always feel like such a diva about it.


Hiya Jennifer.

You are so not a diva; and you’re certainly not alone. I can relate. To manage an autoimmune condition, I’m gluten-free now. Lots of people are getting really savvy about the best fuel for their own bio-individual body. Others are getting hipper to our current food system and aligning their dining (and grocery) dollars with their politics.

However you choose to eat, guess what? While others may offer their (often judgmental) unsolicited opinions about your special diet, it’s ultimately your decision.

Yet, navigating client dinners or any catered, social event can be a challenge. Sometimes, you can engineer the plans. For example, Leanne, who owns Skin Catering, called women networking over a foot scrub the “new coffee date.” Here are a few ideas to chew on when you’re not the planner:

  • Know your WHY. Is it truly about the food or is more social? Your motivations for dining at Per Se will be vastly different than attending a local networking breakfast or treating a client to dinner? Does eating (or perhaps just beveraging) really make a difference in this situation? Like really really make a difference?
  • Know your options in advance. Call the restaurant. If it’s a catered event, you can reach out to the organizer or they can connect you to the person actually preparing the food. Restaurant and catering staffs are also getting savvier and usually want you to have a great experience at their joint. If they can’t accommodate, they’ll generally let you know. The point is: Ask! You might be surprised. And that’s valuable information for the owners to get this or that option on their menu.
  • Make a portable pantry. If it’s a potluck, easy. Bring a dish you can eat and share. Otherwise, feel your Inner Girl Scout: Be prepared. Always keep a healthy snack in your purse. You’ll be less likely to get hangry…and f$^@ing explosive…if you find out your option-starved at the last moment.

Whether we intend it or not, our decisions about how we feed ourselves can sometimes bring up others’ insecurities. And let’s be honest: Some people just don’t give a shit about your diet. Take a breath. It will accrue less of a karmic debt than smashing a plate over some dunce’s head.

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About the author

Kara Martin Snyder

Kara Martin Snyder, CHHC is the Owner & Chief Strategist over at vital corps, a health and wellness studio located at the intersection of strategic action and self-care. Kara's not your run of the mill, woo-woo wellness coach, though. Sure, she's got the classroom and professional creds that many health coaches have but she's also got an arsenal of bad-assery stemming from her boardroom, kitchen, and street savvy. Serving whipsmart, Type A, professional women since 2009, Kara deconstructs the broken processes in her clients' lives and together they co-create actionable, manageable steps to creating healthier lives spiked with passion and slathered with joy. Forget frazzled and famished, it's time to get focused and downright fierce... without starvation, deprivation, or tribulation. Visit her little slice of digital Shangri-La at http://vitalcorpswellness.com/ and get on the list to receive exclusive action-stoking and thought-evoking goodness in your inbox.

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