When someone joins my email newsletter, I send them a welcome email with a link to down load my amazing free eCookbook.
I also ask about their biggest problem when it comes to cooking.
One of the surprisingly common responses is having to cater for different dietary requirements in the one house.
Something I’m only too familiar with.
In my house I like to eat Low Carb to manage my diabetes.
My small boys have a big distrust of anything green. And love all things carb.
Then there’s my Irishman who is still following the low FODMAPS plan to help heal his gut and get on top of his IBS symptoms.
So how do I manage these different dietary requirements?
Without having to cook multiple meals…
It doesn’t need to be difficult.
How to Cater for Different Diets Without Cooking Multiple Meals
1. Focus on what everyone CAN eat.
The first and easiest solution is to find a meal that will please everyone.
So ask yourself what can everyone eat?
Part of the problem is we define allergies or taste preferences by what we ‘don’t / can’t’ eat.
So this becomes the focus.
Changing the way you think about the problem is key.
2. Serve different sides.
Serve the main component of the meal with different side dishes is pretty much how I cook all meals.
For example, when we had these Quick Cheese Burgers with Chipotle Mayo, I served the cheesey burger patties alone on brioche buns for the boys.
I had my burger patties ‘naked’ with the spicy mayo and a coleslaw. (Soo good!)
My Irishman had all of the above.
3. Serve different protein
If you think of a vegetarian and non-vegetarian, it’s about serving different types of protein.
So in our burger example above, I’d make chickpea burgers or zucchini burger patties for the vegetarians and beef for the carnivores.
Everyone could have the ‘slaw and mayo (with or without buns).
4. Accept the situation
There are times when the easiest option is to cook separate meals.
And that’s OK.
Then it’s important to use simple recipes.
If you’re cooking 2 separate meals but each meal is only taking you 10-15 minutes, then getting in and out of the kitchen in 30 minutes is still a great result!
Bonus Tip: Cook in Bulk
Apart from using simple Stonesoup recipes to begin with, the other habit I rely heavily on is ‘mise en place‘.
Or cooking in bulk.
Whenever I’m in the kitchen, I look for ways to make extra now.
This saves me time later on.
So if I’m cooking rice for the boys to have with a stir fry, I’ll make extra and freeze it to have as fried rice later in the week.
Or if I’m making coleslaw as in our example above, I’d shave / grate extra veg to use for subsequent lunches or dinners.
Your future self will thank you!
What about you?
Do you struggle to cater for different dietary requirements? Need some extra help?
I’d love to hear about your situation in the comments below.
More on special diets
- How I Deal With Fussy Eaters (of all ages)
- Why I’m Not a Fan of ‘Moderation’
- 3 Reasons I LOVE Eating Low Carb
- How to Cook Without Garlic, Onions & Tomato
- A Surprising Discovery From ‘Gluten Week’
- Gut Problems? How to Eat Low FODMAP
- Can Eating Healthier Change Your Genetics?
- 12 Clever Ideas for Eating Dairy-Free
And have fun in the kitchen!