Fun fact? According to food website Chef’s Pencil, veganism is at an all-time high in South Africa. We are ranked top 30 in the world where plant-based, cruelty-free living is the most popular way of living. Surprising stats for the carnivore nation, right?!
Some people may have allergies, intolerances, or sensitivities to certain foods or ingredients. Others may follow a specific diet for health, ethical, or religious reasons, such as vegan, gluten-free, halaal, or kosher. And, of course, personal preferences affect food choices too.
Here's the thing though, whether you’re cooking for yourself or for a family member with special dietary needs, it can be a creative challenge. The goal is ultimately to create flavorful, healthy meals. So, prior to embarking on this culinary journey, do extensive research and stay updated on the dos and don’ts. Be diligent about label reading and identification of hidden ingredients. Assistance from healthcare professionals or registered dieticians can be of great value.
Is it possible to cater for different diets without cooking multiple meals? First of all, focus on what everyone can eat. Look for common ground and stock up on versatile staples such as rice, wholegrain pasta, quinoa, lentils, potatoes, nuts and seeds.
One of the most important skills in cooking for special diets is recipe modification. Make a delicious vegetable curry with coconut milk and serve with rice, but cook some chicken separately for meat eaters. By adjusting a recipe, you can create delectable dishes for everyone to enjoy.
So, if you choose to be a vegetarian, don’t cross off recipes that highlight meat as the main event just yet. When it comes to a rich broth-based ramen, use a flavorful mushroom stock for that umami taste. Or when a recipe calls for bacon, simply add paprika to achieve the signature smokiness. Also, chicken can easily be replaced with seitan or jackfruit. Unleash flavor by choosing fresh herbs and citrus juices as a tantalizing dressing to bland foods.
Sure, there will be times when the easiest option is to cook separate meals. And that’s okay, as long as you keep it simple. Bonus tip: When you cook separate meals, cook in bulk and freeze. It’s such a game-changer.
Also, embrace the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. They play a vital role in any healthy diet and their significance is even more pronounced when cooking meals with dietary restrictions.
Explore plant-based proteins such as legumes, tofu, tempeh, and quinoa. Additionally integrate nuts and seeds, as well as dairy free alternatives like almond milk or soy milk to fulfil your protein requirements.
There are so many apps that make coordinating special dietary needs far more manageable. It’s easier than ever to find recipes, coordinate grocery lists, meal planning and more.
By thoroughly researching dietary needs, stocking up on vital ingredients, exploring alternatives and embracing fresh products, you can create flavorful meals that adhere to restrictions.
Source: workandhometips.com, linkedin.com, thestonesoup.com, futurelearn.com, goodcheapeats.com, feedr.co, chefibpa.com, myrecipes.com
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.