When buffets fill you with horror

Calling all fellow food intolerance sufferers (and yes, we really do suffer at this time of year) – have you ever been told to just pick the croutons out of your salad? Had carbohydrates in general confused for gluten? Asked whether you’re ‘seriously allergic’ (i.e. are you doing this as the latest trendy food fad)? Or had the only dessert option at your work Christmas party be fruit salad for four years on the trot?

If so, you have my full sympathies, and this post is for you.

[If you’re coeliac, guaranteed you’ve just done a little shudder at this photo]

I was recently contacted by Sydney Ziverts from ConsumerSafety.org who asked me to share a couple of things with my fellow intolerant readers, or in fact anyone who cares about feeding their fellow humans properly.

Firstly, if you’re hosting any sort of mass feeding event (particularly a buffet) and you’re expecting people with food intolerances to attend, here’s a handy dandy printable for you to put next to each dish. You just tick the box to show what it contains. I tell you what, if any of the buffets I went to had this I’d think all my Christmases had come at once.

Secondly, if you could put down your freefrom mince pie for just a second and take this survey, I’d appreciate it. Sydney will use the results in her research project, which aims to underscore the importance to consumers of proper allergen testing and to improve food allergy labelling in general. She hopes to use this with big brands to persuade them to reconsider their labelling processes. Hopefully it will help simplify things for us ‘picky eaters’ (heavy eye roll) in the future. And if you’re not sure why food labelling is important, just read this about ‘gluten free’ Cheerios.

Thanks in advance for your help and here’s to no more fruit salad for pudding.

I’d like to know – what’s your worst buffet related experience? Does it beat seeing a lady on a cruise ship reach into a dish of potatoes and pick one up with her fingers, and then put it straight into her mouth? For those with food intolerances, would it help you to have this kind of label next to dishes at a buffet?


Just in case you were wondering, this isn’t sponsored in any way. I just want to do something for the greater good, and I hope you do too.



  1. 12th December 2016 / 17:36

    I’ve never had problems with food buffets since going vegan (there’s usually at least a salad or pasta option that I can have). I’ll be going to my first all-inclusive resort next year so I’m interested to see how they handle intolerance! Thanks for all of the information- going to take the survey now 🙂

  2. 12th December 2016 / 18:10

    I can’t believe that people really ask you if you’re really allergic? I feel like people really are taking that to a whole new level of rude! And I can’t imagine getting fruit salad for dessert, at Christmas! That sucks! I feel like it’s not that hard to make everybody happy especially since there’s so many gluten free recipes out there on the interwebs now!

  3. 12th December 2016 / 20:27

    Having an intolerance like yours is truly a minefield. I used to be all about buffets, but lately….not so much. It’s so gluttonous! I find that I can’t usually eat as much as I’m paying, but I try, and its a mish mash of so many types of foods and too much of it so I feel crappy after. I came to this realization after a Vegas buffet a few years ago. I was just over it!! I am still okay with breakfast/brunch for some reason, and I like it it it’s a holiday thing because I don’t like half the holiday food I would be forced into choosing from. And yeah, I don’t like the idea of all the hands across it either!!

  4. Jen
    12th December 2016 / 22:05

    I’ve never been a fan of buffets even though I come from a city where they are so common (Las Vegas), just never been my cup of tea.

  5. 13th December 2016 / 00:36

    I think it’s so important for everyone (especially those serving food) to keep intolerances in mind. I am fortunate enough to not have any food allergies, but even for people who choose not to eat certain things this can be helpful! I don’t know if you’ve heard of Whole 30, but I did the “diet” (really just a lifestyle change) a while back and people in Chile were SO confused. On the diet I was only able to eat natural foods with no processing and during times of travel it was near impossible to avoid some things as I didn’t even know I was eating them. I can’t imagine how hard it is to travel with an actual allergy and if everyone was a little more aware, it would make things so much better!

  6. 13th December 2016 / 13:19

    I often wonder how people cope with celiac disease – there’s a lot you take for granted when you just go out for a meal. Many times I’ve been told the gluten free option “actually has a little bit of gluten” in it, which makes no sense!

    I find food labelling in Australia is really bad – which I guess is a blessing in disguise as I buy less processed things, but it makes knowing what you can and can’t eat a guessing game sometimes. Luckily unless it’s something like Parmesan or soy sauce I’ll usually only eat enough to have a mild reaction and I know to avoid it in future. There was that time I went out with colleagues and ordered Korean food from a picture menu, not wanting to cause a fuss by asking lots of questions. Well of course I picked something that was pure MSG or soy sauce, and was laid in bed for almost 2 weeks! My own fault though really.

  7. 13th December 2016 / 13:34

    i think this is wonderful! i cant eat dairy and it just ruins me so being able to see what has dairy (or beans or corn bc my bod hates me) in it would be so helpful. so much has dairy product in it! great that you’re doing this. 🙂

    xoxo cheshire kat

  8. 13th December 2016 / 19:02

    seriously, so many people have said to me ‘i know you ‘cheat’ on your diet kristen because i see you eat chips or potatoes and they aren’t gluten free’. i swear it takes all i have not to call some people idiots.
    i hate buffets. i used to love them. but even though i am not a vegetarian, i don’t particularly like meat, and most of the time gluten free options are meat filled options. oh those green beans? they have ham in them. i went to a baby shower a few months ago and they’d put fruit on little stick things WITH BACON. are you kidding me? i know most people like bacon, but i don’t, and i certainly don’t like it with fruit.

    KC just likes to call me the food diva. can’t please me apparently.

Leave a Reply

Just so you know, I reply to comments via email so we can continue the conversation. Catch you in your inbox!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *