How to Cater for Different Diets Without Cooking Multiple Meals


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

And have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x

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  • This is a great post. For my husband, the more carbs the better. My system isn’t happy with any carbs or grain at all. My adult children and grandchildren have the following restrictions: lactose intolerance, keto diet, paleo diet, and picky kid syndrome. They were all here this past weekend. Lots of fun. Also lots of meat, veggies (some like them cooked, others won’t eat unless it’s raw), and fruit for the non keto people. No wonder I spent Monday recuperating :)

  • This post is my life right now! I’m a breastfeeding mum (so starving most of the time!), I’m a vegetarian and currently dairy free for bubs. My husband prefers low carb and is a total carnivore, and I have a three year old who believes pasta and chips are the only edible foods in the world. This is what I do really love about your recipes- I choose one, cook the meat option for my husband and daughter, vegie for myself, add the dairy replacement and then the extra carbs for myself and my girl. It takes about ten extra minutes of meal planning before I food shop, but when we finally sit down to eat together it basically looks the same and we all really enjoy it!

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