Ordering a filling lunch for an office with vegetarian colleagues can be a challenge. While there’s always tofu as an option, there’s a wider range of meat substitutes than that. Ask your vegetarian colleagues, and they’ll likely confirm that it’s hard to eat well and not have to worry about getting hungry at office events when their choices are limited to meat-laden dishes. Vegetarians need a broad range of filling, nutritious food, too.
If you’ve ever ordered catering maybe you’ve resorted to a “one size fits all” meal geared toward the vegetarians in the bunch. Like the house salad. Or the avocado and chips combo. Maybe you did this to shave off time. Perhaps you were unfamiliar with the better-tasting range of meat substitutes. Unfortunately, this can lead to redundant spreads with limited veggie options and half-filled plates of bland side dishes. After all, who wants endless rounds of pita bread and shredded lettuce for lunch? Help your vegetarian coworkers eat well at the office by learning more about ways to create a vegetarian-friendly menu.
As one vegetarian blogger points out, vegetarians can be, like most people, pretty adventurous eaters. Beloved dishes like spaghetti and stir-fry can be made vegetarian with some modifications. Tofu is a meat substitute, but so are lentils and smoky roasted broccoli (yum). Lentil chili, veggie tacos, and wild mushroom risotto are delicious vegetarian options, too.
The good news is that if you’re planning a meal for the office, caterers can help. They can help you to navigate the difficulties of dietary meal plans for your next event and teach you about portion sizes. Some caterers are even prepared to identify cuisines that can accommodate more than one dietary food plan. For instance, many Indian dishes are gluten-free and vegetarian. Veggie-heavy pasta is a universal crowd-pleaser. A caterer can guide you through the planning.
If you’re striving to treat all your coworkers to a luscious spread, you’ll need to arm yourself with knowledge on proper portion sizes for vegetarians. Heath.gov, which offers dietary guidelines, is a valuable resource for those looking for nutritious meat substitutes. The site suggests vegetarians stick to a recommended eating pattern consisting of legumes, soy products, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. Here’s a breakdown of the recommended daily portion sizes for individuals. Use this as a reference when planning your next meal.
Recommended Daily Amounts of Food (Based on a 2,000 calorie diet)
- Vegetables: 2.5 cups per day
- Fruits: 2 cups per day
- Grains: 6.5 ounces per day
- Dairy: 3 cups per day
- Protein foods: 3.5 ounces
Of course, you don’t need to fulfill all these requirements in a single catered lunch. Think of this guide as a baseline; use it to compare menu options the next time you plan a catering order, to make sure the meal satisfies everyone on your team. Remember that meat eaters, too, consume vegetarian dishes. That’s why we suggest upping the portion sizes of any meat substitutes you order.
Keep scrolling for a portion guide for vegetarians.
Quick tips for speeding through your catering order.