Easy Ways To Cater For Fussy Eaters When You Are Hosting
When you are hosting several people for a meal of some kind there is always going to be a certain level of stress to be expected.
Quite often the concerns are less about making sure the meal is elaborate enough and more about ensuring that fussier eaters are catered for.
We get used to cooking a certain way to suit our own tastes and that of our family. Hosting a meal for someone who is considered to be a fussy eater is actually really daunting. You don’t want to highlight the fact that they are a fussy eater and yet you want to make sure that the food offerings will be enjoyed by them too.
The fussy eaters in your life may be children or adults. It doesn’t really matter. Both involve tweaking recipes and changing things up to ensure that everyone is catered for.
Catering for fussy eaters might just be easier than you might think though. A few simple tweaks and changes can ensure that there is something on offer for everyone.
1. Ask and it is given. Send a text message a couple of weeks before and ask if anyone has any dietary preferences or allergies. This is a really clear and friendly way of giving someone a private opportunity to let you know about anything they very obviously will not eat. Try not to take it personally. A lot of people are fussy eaters.
2. Instead of tweaking entire recipes just tweak a portion of it. For example, if someone despises onions you could remove a portion of curry/casserole before you add the onions. It may involve sweating them off separately in another pan but it’s easier than making an entirely separate dish or leaving an ingredient out completely that you know a lot of people will miss.
For example, with stuffing, you could blitz the bread crumbs and add everything but the herb/ingredient that someone doesn’t like. Put a smaller portion to the side for that person and then add the ingredient to the main part.
3. Leave sauces on the side. So many fussy eaters have a big issue with sauces. Giving people control over how much sauce they use (if at all) is easier for everyone.
4. Buffet style all the way. Less waste, less stress for you and fussy eaters can take as little or as much as they want without making it a big deal or drawing attention to themselves.
5. When planning the main course try to stick to a safe bet. As a general rule fish or very spicy food can pose issues. Plenty of people love these things (including me) but a lot of people do not eat. Save yourself the hassle of making two main courses and stick to something a bit simpler that will be more of a general crowd pleaser. For example, you could do a basic meat like chicken or ham and let the sides to the talking.
6. Suggest a pot-luck set up where everyone brings a side dish. A fussy eater will of course, bring something that they will be able to eat themselves.
7. Buildable dishes are great. Something like fajitas, tacos or burgers work really well as you can serve the basic element and allow guests to add the toppings of their choice.
8. Always leave an assortment of plain basics on the table so that something can be eaten in the event that the fussy eater does not like anything else on offer. A bread basket, basic salad and french fries for example.
9. Try to resist the urge to ask the fussy eater if they want something else or if they are OK. The last thing a fussy eater wants is the attention placed on them.
10. Remember that the guests are coming for your company more than anything. The pressure you’re putting yourself under is probably completely unwarranted. Just do your best and try to relax.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.