Nowadays, when planning the menu for a dinner party or a wedding reception, you should keep in mind a plethora of different dietary expectations that guests may have. To be the ultimate host, you should try to offer both meat and vegetarian options, and probably one or two more if you’ve got religious guests, picky eaters, or those with severe dietary restrictions to consider. But throw in newfangled diets like keto, paleo, and vegan, and you may give up altogether!
Fear not! For the lowdown on some possibly confusing diet names and their meanings, we have made a guide to these diet trends below, plus suggested meal plans. This will aid you when talking to your health-crazed, environmentally conscious friends, and maybe inspire you to try a new diet plan altogether!
The ketogenic dieter’s goal is to swap out the body’s reliance on carbs for energy to fat instead, putting the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. This low-carb, high-fat diet means eating loads of healthy fats, followed by proteins. The foods to consume include meat, fish, eggs, and oils and animal fats, while cutting down sugar intake by keeping the consumption of processed foods, grains and starches, fruit, and alcohol to the minimum. To enter and maintain ketosis, the amount of daily carb intake should be 50 grams maximum.
Inspired by Paleolithic era foods, this diet features the limited food options available thousands of years ago to hunter-gatherers. While shunning processed foods like sugary snacks and drinks, farmed agricultural staples, most dairy products, and trans fats altogether, there is a focus on whole foods like fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, and spices. Search for labels like “grass-fed” and “organic” whenever possible.
A popular, ethical dietary choice is eating vegetarian, which means choosing not to eat anything that involves killing an animal. Within vegetarianism, you’ll also find subdivisions of lacto, ovo, and lacto-ovo vegetarians—signifying those who consume dairy, or eggs, or both, respectively, in their meatless diets. A related group, pescatarians, will eat fish, crustaceans, and mollusks, but not birds or mammals. Most of these animal-conscious eaters also look for ethically obtained foods whenever they can — think cage-free eggs and dolphin-friendly tuna.
If being a vegetarian means not eating animals of any kind, being a vegan takes it one step further by eliminating all animal by-products from the menu. This includes eggs, butter, yogurt, and even gelatin and honey (#savethebees)! This diet is usually championed by animal lovers and environmentalists, although some may become vegan for health reasons. When cutting out meat from your diet, make sure you still maintain your intake of protein and other essential nutrients via alternate sources.
Rose Ho | Assistant Editor