Why pick a fight with food allergies at the office? Can you really politely ignore the fact that certain foods can cause a minefield of symptoms in your coworkers with severe allergies to, say, peanuts or dairy? Ignoring these risks, when you order catered lunch for the office, is downright risky. Consider the fact that severe allergies to foods like dairy are on the rise, according to Food Allergy Research & Education, so much so that the Americans with Disabilities Act now generally recognizes allergies as a disability. This means your days of planning an office lunch full of gluten, peanuts, shellfish, and dairy are officially over.
Dairy allergies are most common in children, but 20 percent of those cases linger into adulthood. Plus, more and more health-conscious adults are choosing to shy away from milk products and fill their glasses and plates with dairy substitutes instead. But drumming up delicious dairy-free lunch ideas is challenging when almost everything worth eating is covered in cheese, slathered with cream, or layered over a cloud of yogurt. Dairy products often hide in most commercially prepared pastries and other foods of convenience. This makes your job as top menu builder much more challenging, especially when serving dishes you didn’t make yourself or without detailed food labels.
To manage dairy allergies at work, you’ll need to become an expert in all things dairy, including what can and cannot be ingested by those with the food allergy. Asian and Mediterranean cuisines offer countless dishes, such as kebabs, spring rolls and dumplings, that can accommodate the restrictions of dairy allergies. Other popular catering foods can also be specially prepared for people with dairy allergies. (Did someone say tacos? How about California rolls.) Ahead we’ll discuss important statistics surrounding dairy allergies as well as catering ideas you can lean on when inspiration wanes, no milk allowed.
Want more? We’ve got your dairy-free catering inspiration