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Handling Business Lunches as the Only Vegetarian

work - dietary restrictionsWhat if you’re at a lunch meeting or other work event and there’s nothing you can eat as a vegetarian? What should you do, and how can you take steps to ensure you don’t find yourself in the same awkward situation again? In general, how should anyone with dietary restrictions handle a business lunch? Reader M wonders…

I went to a meeting today with a catered lunch. The options were turkey or chicken sandwiches. I am a vegetarian. This put me in the awkward position of not eating when the other four people in the room (all males of varying ages) were eating lunch. My question is: How should one deal with dietary restrictions at work or at events with work colleagues? Should I have contacted the assistant in charge of the lunch? My dietary restriction is voluntary, but there are many people out there who will literally become ill if they don’t follow certain dietary guidelines. I can usually find something, but there are the occasional times when I cannot. I also hate being an inconvenience. When I was interviewing for jobs, I actually ate dishes with meat a couple times to avoid an awkward situation or risking coming across as a picky eater.

Yikes — I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been put in such a tough situation. We sort of discussed this when we talked about how to stick to your gluten-free diet at a business lunch or how to diet while working a corporate gig, but that was a while ago. What is the best way for anyone with a dietary restriction to handle a business lunch? I can’t wait to hear what the readers have to say.

I have a few ideas for how to deal with this:

[Read more…]

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The Business Lunch, Gluten-Free

gluten-free corporateIf you have special eating needs, how do you navigate the business lunch, as well as other noshing and networking events? What are the best tips and practices for enjoying a gluten-free business lunch? Today’s guest poster, Valerie from City|Life|Eats, tackles this very issue. Valerie is an old friend to Corporette, having posted here before about makeup and a favorite shirt. Enjoy! – Kat

It can be difficult to manage dietary restrictions with the demands on being a professional woman.  Learning that certain foods are off-limits, whether because of Celiac disease, other autoimmune conditions, food allergies, food intolerances or sensitivities, means a lifestyle change that takes adjustment.  When I learned I could not eat gluten, dairy, eggs and a host of other foods, I was concerned about how to manage these new restrictions, particularly with regards to my professional life.   As an associate at a law firm in Washington, DC, I was acutely aware that business entertaining was only going to be a larger part of my life moving forward, as would business travel and conferences.  It has been a couple of years now, and along the way it has gotten a lot easier. I do not hide the requirements of my restrictions, but manage them in such a way that the way I eat does not become a focal point of interacting with me either.   [Read more…]

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