Prepping Attendees With Dietary Needs for International Travel

dietary restrictions, dietary needs, food and beverage, Expect Diversity, autoimmune diseases
International dietary needs; Photo Credit: Kiwihug/Unsplash

Traveling internationally is already stressful on the body for those without any health issues, but what about those attendees with autoimmune diseases and other strict dietary concerns?

For those suffering from inflammatory bowel, celiac, Hashimoto’s or psoriasis, jet lag and foreign food can quickly become a nightmare. It’s become such an issue that “The New York Times” recently published an article of tips for those traveling with one of these illnesses. Since more attendees are following strict anti-flammatory diets, it’s important for meeting planners to take note and properly prepare. Here are some things to consider:

Carry Medical Documents

If one of your attendees shares the fact that they have an autoimmune disease and require special dietary restrictions while traveling, first, remind them to carry copies of their prescriptions and a doctor’s letter detailing their condition and need for the medications (especially if border security is tight). It doesn’t hurt to have these letters written in the native language of the country to which your attendee will be traveling. In addition to offering a friendly reminder, offer to keep copies of the documents on file. While they may not want to share such personal information, they also might appreciate the help.

Offer DIY Food Options

Buffets and cooking classes, in lieu of passed appetizers or a seated dinner, offer attendees the option to create their own dishes. Important items to have on the menu? Fresh fruits and vegetables that have been steamed or cooked as well as lean proteins and whole grains provide the best options. Also, stay clear of raw foods that can carry any sort of food-borne illness.

Use Technology

Download Google Translate to help you communicate specific dietary needs of your attendees. Better yet, prepare a written statement for all catering staff and restaurant staff that shares the dietary restrictions of your attendees. Going out on the town? Restaurant apps like Yelp oftentimes provide information on restaurants that cater to specific dietary needs.

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