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Share your tips for feeding a family with different dietary requirements with Flora

(266 Posts)
AbbiCMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 08-Jul-19 09:31:09

Cooking a meal for the family can be hard at the best of times, so having family members with different dietary requirements can throw an extra spanner in the works. Whether it’s because of allergies and intolerances, or due to environmental, ethical or health concerns, we know that a lot of households have to think and prepare carefully to make sure their mealtimes cater to everyone around the table.

Because we think mealtimes can be tricky when you have to cater to different dietary requirements for family members, Flora would like to hear about your experiences and how you navigate through this.

Here’s what Flora has to say: “Health and wellbeing has never been so important to consumers, people care more about what goes into the products they are feeding themselves and their families, but they are not prepared to compromise on taste – and they shouldn’t have to. With a great new recipe making FLORA more delicious than ever, our new 100% Plant Goodness range can be enjoyed by the whole family.”

How does your family cater for those who have different dietary requirements when it comes to mealtimes? How can your family make sure everyone’s requirements are met without spending too much extra time, money, or effort on preparation? Has your family adapted well to managing emerging dietary requirements, or have there been any hiccups on the way?

Whatever your tips and tricks are on making these mealtimes a success, post them on the thread below and everyone who does will be entered into a prize draw where 1 MNer will win a £300 voucher of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck!


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voyager50 Tue 09-Jul-19 11:44:13

I am vegetarian but thankfully no one has any medical reason why they can't eat anything so everyone gets the same which makes things much easier.

TellMeItsNotTrue Tue 09-Jul-19 11:45:34

I make the same basic meal that everyone can eat and then there are things that can be added to it for those that want it.

We also have a lot of meals as serve yourself, so everyone makes themselves a meal that they can eat due to dietary requirements and preferences, and they just know that the only real rule is that they need to take at least one portion of veg

Crocklebog Tue 09-Jul-19 12:50:57

I cook a dairy free meal for all as a base and then cook any meat separately. For those who can have dairy, cheese can be added on top of a dish. We also just eat a lot of fully vegan meals as a family. I buy vegan spreads and condiments so we don't have separate jars in the fridge that could get mixed up.

OldIrishTERF Tue 09-Jul-19 13:10:41

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Montydoo Tue 09-Jul-19 13:18:24

Since doing 'Veganuary' this year, we felt and looked healthier, so we make the decision to have a vegan day and a vegetarian day every week and we involve DS1 and DS2 in the process of what to eat anything with cherry tomatoes in (either cooked or as a side is often on every meal) we love roasted vegetables, and have found a new love for pure vegan products. The vegetables fried in flora taste lovely, we particularly love the Vegan Thai Vegetable Red Curry. We have had no real hiccups and as for price - there is no real difference, and healthwise my and DS2 eczema has significantly improved.

sharond101 Tue 09-Jul-19 13:37:12

My daughter has a dairy allergy. I cook to allow us to eat the same and do batch cooking to save time.

3boysandabump Tue 09-Jul-19 13:59:55

@OldIrishTERF perhaps because some of us have allergies which mean we can't eat real butter. Which is the whole point of the thread...

MargoLovebutter Tue 09-Jul-19 14:23:45

Teach everyone to cook, then they can start making their own meals!

Bemystarlord Tue 09-Jul-19 14:56:55

My daughter has a dairy allergy and it can be so expensive cooking separately for her when there are 5 of us so I started to use dairy free alternative in my cooking such a coconut or soya milk so that I only have to make one meal which is cheaper and also easier. We found a lot of products are dairy free such as Oreos and party rings so we make sure to check ingredients even if they are not labelled as dairy free.

agirlcalledBede Tue 09-Jul-19 14:57:07

My most important tip: patience, and a sense of humour. Or failing that, sarcasm.

So, when Family Member A asks 'these are vegan sausages, aren't they?' I reply 'yes, but I coated them in egg before grilling, specifically to annoy you?'

And when Family Member B asks 'are you sure this curry is nut-free?' I answer 'I checked the label on the curry paste, but I didn't ask the carrots directly'

I have been cooking to exactly the same specifications for the past 10+ years, and still the in-laws don't trust me...

OldIrishTERF Tue 09-Jul-19 18:22:13

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CharityConundrum Tue 09-Jul-19 18:29:22

We have two pescatarians, one with a severe nut allergy and various less serious ones, and a 3 year old with coeliac disease, so we are constantly thinking about food.

We have done extensive research into which gluten free foods everyone prefers, so I now do 'big shops' from a range of different supermarkets to stock up on them all. Both children have GF pasta to avoid any mix-ups or disagreements over shapes and we try and make meals which suit everyone as much as possible, with the odd substitution where practical.

We keep everything that we can (pasta, rice, dried pulses etc) in kilner jars to minimise the risk of cross-contamination and so that we can see what's what at a glance. We also have separate freezer drawers for gluten free and non GF foods to make it easier to keep track of what we have.

The kids are really good at checking labels - the bigger one will read ingredients for the 3 year old and helps find alternatives if the thing they want is not an option and they both tell people that I can't have nuts, which is sweet if a little uneccessary!

OldIrishTERF Tue 09-Jul-19 18:32:27

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

kateandme Tue 09-Jul-19 23:45:29

How does your family cater for those who have different dietary requirements when it comes to mealtimes?start from veggie.or doing the base of veggies curries stews rice dishes and pasta.the you can split off and add meat to one or leave it all veggie and then cook meat on the side.
do some all veggie meals and if the meat eater havea fave meat meal make sure there is if having steak make sure there s a veggie burger or veggie pie etc.

How can your family make sure everyone’s requirements are met without spending too much extra time, money, or effort on preparation?batch cook.and then you always have aspare so you can bring it out.and batch cook to have leftovers options.
Has your family adapted well to managing emerging dietary requirements, or have there been any hiccups on the way? having a nut allergy sufferer has been very hard as label are rubbish.and often wont have it in it but will say it just to cover themsevles so we have had to avoid foods and clearly know they wont hae it in it.or it will say nuts and not be specific.

sarat1 Wed 10-Jul-19 08:15:58

As I suffer from lactose intolerance as well as a range of other intolerances that trigger my IBS, having a baby that is cows milk and soya intolerant hasn't been a huge leap for us. In fact, I already knew the brands and where to buy them to support him. It is also easier that if he wants something that I am eating, I can share it with him without worrying that it contains ingredients he doesn't cope with.

1969angep Wed 10-Jul-19 12:51:14

Thankfully we're a family who pretty much eat anything. My DS has a minor reaction to raw tomato, which is easy to avoid. We often swap tomato for red pepper if we have a salady side :-)

fishnships Wed 10-Jul-19 13:43:16

I find it easier to just make seperate meals but preferably with some common food we all like. An example of this would be different types of protein or carbs (depending on veggie diet, etc.) but us all having roasted vegetables. I also use a lot of goats cheese and we would all have quorn as opposed to beef/lamb mince. This works out well as it is healthier for us to cut down on red meat, it is cheaper and we all like it.

BlackeyedGruesome Wed 10-Jul-19 13:44:50

some dishes I cook two versions... eg cook the veg and when it comes to add milk divide into two separate pans and cook separately from then on.

some we just eat vegetarian meals without the allergens. (egg, nuts and intolerance to milk, though going back up the milk ladder now)

use vitalite (it was cheapest originally) for cooking recipes at school, oil instead of butter, in other things, lentils beans and chickpeas instead of meat and fish. LM vegan sausages instead of fishfingers.

no quorn, it makes her sick.

ds will eat meat with his dad when he goes there.

Ribeebie Wed 10-Jul-19 19:02:04

I think where possible trying to cook the same meal for everyone but making it something that's not substituted - so something naturally veggie or gluten free etc. If your doing a risotto do a mushroom or butternut squash instead of chicken so you can all enjoy it etc.

ChocAuVin Wed 10-Jul-19 23:43:30

Me and DD (11) are gluten and dairy free. Sadly DD’s twin brother isn’t intolerant to either of those things, nor is DS1 😔

My tip is simply: remove the ‘offending’ items wherever possible from the house and then everything is likely to be suitable. Anything ‘gluten’ lives separately in my house, so it’s the exception rather than the norm! I buy in wheat bread and some cookies and that’s about it. Everything else (flour, soy sauce, etc) is gluten free.

We don’t eat much gf pasta and tend to stick to ‘meat and several veg’ type meals - also eat a lot of eggs.

I have even got rid of butter since divorcing my H and moving into my own kingdom house. I tend to use olive oil as a substitute but always have a dairy free spread suitable for baking and frying, too, as a big favourite here is home made sweet potato gnocchi which can easily be made GF and can be either boiled or pan fried (mmmmmm) but is delicious either way with a knob of DF spread smile

Great thread!

BearsandCardigan Thu 11-Jul-19 07:54:29

We look after our grandsons whilst their parents work, one is intolerant to dairy, soya and eggs the other is a very fussy eater. We all eat together and we always offer something they both will eat along side less favourites or new foods. We use sharing plates so we dish up a small amount and have a plate with extra of everything on the table that they can help themselves. We bake our own bread as so much store bought has soya in it. Flora has been a godsend, we all have it on toast, in sandwiches or in baking.

ButterflyOfFreedom Thu 11-Jul-19 12:10:04

Everyone can - and usually- does eat anything I put in front of them so no allergies / intolerances etc to consider.
However we know many friends who do need / want a special diet and we cater for them accordingly. This is usually a gf dish or dairy free meal.
We also know someone with a severe nut allergy so obviously this is a big consideration when they visit.

Grammar Thu 11-Jul-19 12:24:37

I'm frustrated. I love cooking, and to me, a dish is a fusion of flavours so doing separate veggie and then sprinkling on meat just doesn't do it for me.
I have a 17 dd, a 22 dd, both recently veggie, a DS 19 a DH and me who aren't .
We are all at home now as the older two have finished uni and 17dd still at school.
My DS ( non veggie) won't eat beans in any form, though he will tolerate chickpeas.
My 22dd hates goats cheese and mushrooms.
I would be happy to go veggie myself, if I could only cook one meal for 5, whether veggie or not, what joy.
There is no pleasure in dishing pasta and rice day after day, and because of work, I don't have time to do lovely individual dishes. For someone that likes cooking and experimenting with flavours, it's dispiriting.
Any words of wisdom will be appreciated greatly.

buckley1983 Thu 11-Jul-19 14:05:35

My 6 year son decided to follow a vegetarian diet (inspired by Beast Boy from 'Teen Titans Go!') - after initially scratching my head about how to cut out meat but still keep his protein levels up & ensure he gets the necessary vitamins, etc.. it's actually been a really positive move for all of us.. & for the family purse!!
We now have veg chilli, veg stew, veg bolognese, etc - we tried meat substitute & although some of the products were ok, a lot of the mince we tried was bland & a bit tasteless & we all preferred bulking out the meal with beans & pulses instead.
My son & I now enjoy cooking together (most of the time anyway!) & it gives him a feeling of more independence prepping & chopping the veg.

joggingrunning Thu 11-Jul-19 14:13:40

I cook everyone the same meals and I strive to be inclusive in all my cooking. I batch cook and freeze vegetables which saves time and money.

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