Ask someone to order catering when she is elbow deep in paperwork, and you’re bound to trigger a few jitters. Ask this person to accommodate diners with a wheat allergy, and the jitters might snowball into stress. This is a reasonable scenario as planning meals at work gets tricky when you’re dealing with dietary restrictions such as a wheat allergy. Handling wheat allergies is downright confusing when compared to other common food allergies. A wheat allergy is not the same as a diagnosis of celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity; though these food plans sometimes overlap, each has a different set of restrictions.
So, for the safety and enjoyment of all involved, let’s talk about the differences between wheat and gluten. Someone with a wheat allergy must avoid the wheat grain. Although the words are used interchangeably, “wheat” is not the same as “gluten.” While all wheat contains gluten, not all gluten comes from wheat; the gluten protein is also found in grains like barley and rye. It’s safest to avoid confusing the two, and to treat each dietary restriction separately.
To keep people with a wheat allergy safe, it’s important that your menus leave out foods with the slightest traces of the wheat grain. Food Allergy Research & Education reminds us that small amounts of wheat can do serious damage. As the office worker tasked with fueling your team, you should not take this allergy lightly. Standard catering packages filled with conventional pastries and pasta dishes can be a nightmare for someone with a wheat allergy. Especially if these catered dishes aren’t labeled or tailored for special diets.
Wheat is one of the eight most common allergenic foods. If you’re looking for a non-wheat substitute, try amaranth, barley, corn, oat, quinoa, rice, and rye. Gluten-free products are almost always a safe bet because, theoretically, they should not contain wheat ingredients. But do be careful, as wheat can hide in unexpected foods and cross-contact is possible. Always read food labels and always tell your caterer in advance. A caterer used to accommodating various food allergies may also be familiar with using wheat-free flours during baking.
Building an office catering menu that accommodates those with a wheat allergy requires knowledge of both acceptable and taboo ingredients. The infographic below will discuss ways to manage food at the office for those allergic to wheat as well as ways to plan a wide-ranging meal for all.
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