How to Cater for Special Diets

Contributed by Bethanie Dennis

As summer approaches, it feels like everyone is on some sort of diet. In fact, the term ‘diet plans’ is searched for, on average, 27,100 times a month — meaning there’s a huge market for diet plan-friendly restaurants and catering.

But what are some of the UK fad diets and how can you cater for it? Catering equipment specialist Nisbets tells us how…

Atkins Diet

The Atkins Diet is all about limited carbohydrates so your body burns fat. This diet, created by Dr. Atkins, works on the basis that everyone’s metabolism uses sugar, carbs or fat for energy, and that by limiting the carbohydrates the body burns fat instead.

To cater for this diet, make sure you focus on high-protein meals, including lots of fish, chicken and steak, good-quality fats from eggs and cheese, and avoid carbohydrates such as breads and pasta. Meals could include a burger without the bun or a steak topped with eggs.


Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers combines a specified lifestyle, including food, activity and regular meetings. Participants count SmartPoints – with certain foods being a higher value than others. Dieters have their own SmartPoints budget which takes into account weight, height, gender and age and certain foods – including sugary and fatty foods – contain many more points than others.

When catering for this diet, make sure you offer fat-free options, such as lean meat salads, and steamed meat and veggies, which contain fewer points and are easier for dieters to account for.


The 5:2 Diet

The 5:2 Diet is a restrictive diet, based on eating normally for five days a week, and eating at a fast for two days a week. On the ‘fast days’, calorie consumption is restricted to 25% of the dieter’s need – limiting women to 500 calories and men to 600. Eating at such a reduced calorie level on two days aids weight loss.

To cater for the fasted days, low-calorie meals are key. Certain dishes, such as sushi or salads, are easier to produce and eat in adherence to a calorie limit. Ingredients such as grilled chicken and spinach can keep you feeling full without calorie high calorie intake.



Paleo mimics the diet of pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors, and the ingredients incorporated into it really reflect this. The food in this diet has a higher level of protein, mainly through seafood and meat, and lower carb sources from fruit and vegetables, and reduced levels of cow milk and dairy.

To cater for this diet, offer wheat and gluten-free options, and focus on lean meats, with lots of fresh salads and vegetables. Try and introduce dairy alternatives, such as coconut milk and almond milk.



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