Catering is important to an event because attendees will always be seeking food! Fresh Café aims to provide the same value and sustainable quality to event catering as they do to their own food served in house. With this in mind, we have come up with this unofficial guide on how to decide on healthy event catering, what you should consider and what you should ask your caterer.
Considerations For Healthy Event Catering
1. Food Allergies/Requirements – This should be first and foremost. Allergies or specific meal requirements can seriously affect food choices and the preparation of the food. For example, an attendee with a serious nut allergy would not be able to have any food that was prepared in the same location as nuts. If there is anyone on the guest list with a serious allergy, consider removing that food altogether or providing a safe alternative. Group requirements together so that they are easy to find, for example those with gluten free needs should be able to find all food options in the same location on the buffet table.
2. Portion Sizes – Commonly at an event, food is oversized and therefore attendees eat much more without realising. Present in healthy portion sizes for each of your food elements to make portions more obvious and encourage healthy choices.
3. Pre-cut Food – Some food can be harder to handle and therefore should be pre-cut. For example, sandwiches, bagels and baguettes, are difficult, particularly in a buffet setting to manage.
4. Fresh Fruit & Veg Snacks – Arrange for in-season fruit and vegetables to be placed in the forefront of the table so that it is one of the first items available. This makes it less likely to be ignored and often sets guests up for making good food choices. Also ensure that you present food and vegetables well so that they look appetizing. Food displays are a good way of doing this.
5. Side Dressings – Try to avoid adding dressings and sauces to meals as they often spike the calorie count and contain a lot of salt or sugar. Instead, offer them as an extra on the side with dressings and dips that guests can opt out of. Most of the time, they won’t even miss it, and if they do it is still there if they want it.
6. Avoid Utensil food – Unless you are opting for a sit-down meal, a buffet suits a variety of occasions and event types. Buffet style catering is more cost effective and easier to organise than meals, plus it is easier to adapt to different preferences and quantities.
7. Fresh - The point most in line with Fresh Café is of course fresh food. You want all of the flavours and food choices to shine through at your event and of course need catering to taste amazing. Subtle flavours and textures are lost when food is not fresh so always opt for preparation as close to the event as possible.
What To Ask Your Caterer:
- When is the food for the day prepared? – You want your food to be as fresh as possible (as mentioned above.)
- Can you adhere to healthy portion sizes?
- Will you be pre-cutting the food or will we have to?
- Are there options for presentation you can provide or discuss?
Hopefully this gives you more insight into event catering and how you can make it healthier while still making an impact.