Managing dietary restrictions and needs at events is a new reality that is here to stay. Some of them — food allergies and celiac disease — are legitimate, potentially fatal needs that must be accommodated, not trendy whims of a spoiled population. Sure, special food requests may sometimes reflect preferences and intolerances rather than true, life-threatening allergies. But, millions of people must eat like for health reasons, to stay alive.

This may mean a bit of extra work and possible expense for hosts and event planners, as well as a new layer of complexity. Luckily, if you understand the various needs, learn how similar some are to others and know how to to safely prepare meals, you can probably combine some needs to create fewer custom meals, save money, reduce waste, create new revenue opportunities and have happier guests.

It’s time to accept special dietary concerns as the prevalent reality they are and begin to find creative and delicious solutions to accommodate these needs. In the process, we will help our guests feel welcome in our homes, our events and our lives.