The Oxford Dictionary definition of “hospitality” is:
“The friendly and generous reception and entertaining of guests, visitors, or strangers”.
Simply put, it is being gracious and thinking of others. When we are doubled over in pain from our IBS and embarking on this strange new world of the low FODMAP diet, it is hard to think of anyone but ourselves!
And we get it, hence this article, Top 8 Tips for Hosting a Party.
And don’t worry. This is about taking care of YOU and your guests.
Let’s put the “entertainment” and “stranger” factors aside, shall we? Typically we are inviting friends and family over for a get-together and whatever the magnitude, it usually involves food.
First of all, before the mere thought of entertaining in your home sends you into a tizzy, let’s get one thing clear: by being the host you get to be in charge, which means you can be sure to have foods on hand that suit you, wherever you are in the diet. This is great!
You will be able to enjoy a party without fear!
Now let’s talk about the menu. You need a strategy. We say put yourself first. That’s right! You are dealing with a medical issue that if not attended to could sideline you for days. Acquaintances might not understand, but that doesn’t matter. You know what you need, and we are here to help you.
Below are our Top 8 Tips for Hosting a Party:
Set a Budget: Money can be a huge stress trigger and that could make your IBS worse. Set a budget and stick to it. Don’t have the resources for a sit-down dinner? No problem. Have a small cocktail party with a set end-time.
Create YOUR Menu: OK here’s where you get to think about yourself first. What do you like? What do you know will be within your budget, doable for you in the kitchen and something that you really like to eat? Include it! If you have foods at hand that are within your low FODMAP needs you will be less inclined to “cheat” and possible regret it later.
…Which Includes Alcohol: There are many spirited drinks that can be enjoyed on the low FODMAP diet, including wine, sparkling wine, gin, vodka and whiskey. Check out our article Mocktails & Cocktails for a deeper-dive.
Now Think of Others: Getting back to “hospitality”, you should take into account who will be there. Will there be some kids? Someone who you know is allergic to soy? Make sure there is something for them. Look at the image accompanying this article. You might be asking yourself, what the heck are high FODMAP apples doing there?
Well, the citrus, pomegranates and nuts are all low FODMAP in their own servings sizes. You could add low FODMAP grapes, too. Another reason why this works, which is important to know, is that we don’t have to worry about cross-contamination the same way someone who has celiac disease does. An apple can reside next to a clementine and we are safe to indulge in that citrus.
The point is that someone at the party will like and appreciate apples. What a gorgeous centerpiece this would make and it represents what we are talking about here: that there is a way to be hospitable, thinking of others, and still stick with your diet.
Plan Smartly: Make sure you have variety within your menu. It is not only enticing and satisfying for your guests to have an array of cold and hot food, simple offerings and maybe some dishes that demand a little more attention to detail, but it also means that you won’t end up with three dishes that need to go in the oven, all with different oven temperatures or too many refrigerated dishes and no more room!
Read all recipes through to acquaint yourself with logistical needs and also take note of what steps can be done ahead – and take advantage.
Be Aware: It is easy to overeat at a party. Read our article on FODMAP Stacking to acquaint or re-acquaint yourself with the concept of eating many different foods at once – and staying within low FODMAP guidelines.
We even have an article about Stacking at the Holidays, specifically.
Along these lines, learn what foods have no detectable FODMAPs, such as carrots or white potatoes. Including those foods will allow you more choices.
Use Our Resources to Help: We created our Recipe Filter to be friendly and robust. Need Gluten-free or Dairy-free options? Have vegans coming? Know that you want appetizers or desserts? Our filter can help you sort through recipes right here with the press of a button?
Guests Are Resources, Too: As the host you get to control the menu, so what do you do if guests ask if they can bring something or if they want to help? Don’t turn them down. Remember, we are trying to make this less of a chore and keep it enjoyable for you, too.
Ask them to bring ice. Or beverages. Or maybe there is low FODMAP sourdough bread at the bakery in town that you want to incorporate. Don’t be shy about voicing your needs.
And last but not least, Enjoy Your Party! Part of hospitality is actually being that hospitable person! You can set the tone with your warm energy and genuine, welcoming spirit.