On Friday we had our whole organisation work do. And while most people look forward to it, I don’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s awesome that the organisation goes to this effort just to do something nice for its staff members, but it’s not so much fun when you can’t eat the food, and Friday’s work do was especially average for me because not only could I not eat the food, there was also nothing I could drink that wasn’t full of sugar or high fodmaps. So I kind of lingered around looking awkward with nothing in my hands while everyone else ate, and those who didn’t know me asked why I wasn’t eating. #awkward #dontmindmeinthecorner
Do I think that my workplace should cater for me? No, actually.
I’m not an easy person to cater for – I’m gluten-free, dairy-free, low fodmaps, tomato free, and capsicum free. That’s not an easy combo to get right, and it really is asking a lot of a caterer.
What’s awesome about my workplace though, is that they always provide at a very minimum some gluten-free options. So even though I often can’t eat the gluten-free food (cos of my other foodie issues), at least other people who are gluteys can. And when there’s a formal-do, they will try their best to cater for everyone, even tricky people like me. They’re doing a good job, and I really appreciate their consideration.
Next week we’re having our small team Christmas lunch. We’re a close-knit team of nine, and these people are amazing. I’m always happy to bring my own food, but they’ve arranged a caterer who can provide for me even with my giant list of exclusions. How kind is that?
Christmas can be a challenging time for food allergy-folk because not every workplace (or even family) is as considerate as mine is.
So what do you do when you’re stuck with a social situation where you can’t eat the food? Here are a couple of my tried and tested tips for making it through the social season:
- Check what’s on the menu. You’d be surprised at how many allergy-friendly options there are on menus these days.
- Talk to the organiser or caterer. It’s okay to ask if you can be catered for. It’s not okay to demand to be catered for. And if you ask well in advance of the event and know that there’s nothing you can eat, at least you’ll be able to either feed up before you go or be organised to follow my next tip …
- Take your own food. Yup, this really is an option. If the place where you’re going can’t provide for you then they should be prepared to accept you bringing your own food (make sure you let them know in advance, politely of course).
- Offer to organise the event yourself. This involves work but means you have more control over your own food safety.
The easiest way to keep yourself safe this social season is to think about things in advance. Given enough time, most people are happy to cater for you, and if they aren’t, at least you’ll be prepared.
Enjoy the noms guys!