People without food restrictions should leave specialized foods for those who need them

It’s already hard enough to find diet-restricted options at social events

Is it too much to ask to be able to eat SOME of the food on the table? Photo: Mike Kenneally/Unsplash

By: Madeleine Chan, Staff Writer

Have you ever been to an event or party, gone over to the food table, and been disappointed at the limited, or non-existent, selection you can eat? If not, that’s great. If yes, then it’s probably because the people who aren’t limited in food choice took it all.

My gluten and dairy allergies usually rule out my feasting options at parties and events. Dietary-restriction awareness, particularly for on-campus events, seems to be at an all-time low as suitable food options are always limited to a few measly items. 

Spotting the words “GLUTEN FREE” or “VEGAN” always makes the clouds part and the sun shine down on this one thing that can quell my hungry and sensitive stomach. However, seeing people take those divinely-labelled items when they do not need to fills my soul with sorrow. It feels as if they rip my hopeful heart out of my chest and serve it to me on a platter saying, “Here, you can eat this instead.”

Not being able to eat certain foods shouldn’t exclude me from satiating my hunger alongside everyone else. Other people should respect that by not taking the limited foods that I can eat. I cannot count the number of times that I have gone to an event or party and had nothing but some carrot sticks to eat. And carrots are great: bunnies love them, and I love them. It shouldn’t, however, be the only option there to fill my belly — especially not when I know there were other options there.

I recognize that I’m on the lucky side of food restrictions. Some people literally cannot eat certain things or else they suffer immediate, deathly reactions. But even if someone isn’t deathly allergic to something, their religious, cultural, or otherwise personal food choices and diets should be respected. Yeah, maybe Becky won’t die from not being on a keto and a vegan diet, but that doesn’t mean you should make that choice for her by taking all of her food options.

If you can go to a party or event and not worry about potentially dying, becoming ill, or starving due to the spread available, then maybe you should check which kind of foods you’re consuming. Make sure they’re not intended for someone else. Greater awareness about specialty foods and dietary restrictions will allow everyone in attendance to have the ability to enjoy the fun as well as the food.