Few missions are trickier than ordering food at work for an office full of people who’ve pledged to go on a gluten-free diet. Some stay away from gluten, as they must, because they are sensitive to the protein found in grains like wheat and barley; for them, uncomfortable symptoms come alongside a serving of pasta. Others, with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, do so because gluten proteins “prompt the body to turn on itself and attack the small intestine,” according to the New York Times. The report states that complications range from stomach pains and anemiato osteoporosis and, sometimes, lymphoma. As the office guru who is responsible for taking care of your peeps, it doesn’t bode well for you to cut corners, not when this can lead to people getting sick. It’s not a good idea to order the standard catering package if those on a gluten-free diet can’t find sanctuary in the pre-packaged cookies with nuts.
There are a number of reasons people go on a gluten-free diet. The most common reasons are due to a diagnosis of celiac disease, a lesser condition called non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or a restricted diet (this gluten-free population overlaps with those handling a wheat allergy, but a wheat allergy is something else entirely). As celiac and gluten sensitivities gain prominence, it’s possible that a few of your office coworkers are right now avoiding the gluten that can make them sick. Forbesreports that roughly 3.1 million people follow a gluten-free diet. Last year, the New York Times reported that roughly one person in 140 is known to have celiac disease.
Even if the task of managing gluten-free diets for your office seems time-consuming, it should not be ignored. And anyway, according to the Huffington Post, these extra efforts at the workplace won’t go unnoticed. Employees with a food allergy, or other restricted diets, tend to feel more engaged in company culture when they can fully participate in office parties and lunches. When you provide workplace accommodations for these people, you help to create an environment that encourages inclusiveness, productivity, and the well-being of your staff.
Get started by becoming the resident expert on gluten. Drumming up an office catering menu that accommodates those on a gluten-free diet requires that you know which ingredients to run toward and which ones to run from. Read on for ways to manage food at the office for those on a gluten-free diet. We’ll talk about what that means for your next catering order. We’ll also share a few tips on how to plan and order an inclusive menu everyone can enjoy, hassle not included.