Cooking for Food Allergies and Special Diets

5 Sandwiches Best Served in the Air
August 28, 2016
West Palm Beach, Florida – Amanda C. Tulucci
September 23, 2016

With so many health fads and special diet plans people are increasingly picky about the food they eat. When a passenger submits their request for a special meal plan it is important to know what they can and can not have.

Many caterers are well informed about special diets and will have meal plans to the specifications you ask for. However if you are making your own platters of food, or mixing things up in the kitchen yourself it is important to know and understand your costumer’s needs. The following is a list of diet specifications and what they mean.


Vegans do not eat ANY animal products. For those who are especially picky this even includes honey.

Other animal products include eggs, and dairy, which is in cheese, many sauces, some breads, along with other items. It is important to read the label on products to make sure you are not buying something with animal products.

Also always make sure to avoid whey, which is a milk protein and found in many products.
Finding milk replacements for things like coffee or breakfast can sometimes be a challenge. While most people go with soy milk, I have found coconut, oat, and even hazelnut milk to be more delicious and nutritious.


Nut allergies can be some of the most serious kinds of food allergies. If someone with a nut allergy has even the smallest bit of peanut residue they could need to be hospitalized within 30 minutes. Make sure that the food you purchase or order is completely nut free.
Some individuals allergic to nuts, are only allergic to specific nuts. Find out what nut allergy your passengers have before moving forward with your menu planning. “Nuts” that will not actually affect your clients include coco”nuts”, and “nut”meg.


Gluten free diets are one of the most  Challenging to cook for. Gluten is in a  variety of foods, the most commonly  known is bread. When looking for gluten free foods, make sure to always read the labels, you will find gluten in the strangest things.

Avoid these ingredients if shopping for gluten free passengers.

  • Barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley)
  • Rye
  • Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
  • Wheat
  • Bulgur
  • Durum flour
  • Farina
  • Graham flour
  • Kamut
  • Semolina
  • Spelt

Gluten is often found in the following items, be extra careful to read the labels on these items:

  • Beer
  • Breads
  • Cakes and pies
  • Some Candies
  • Cereals
  • Cookies and crackers
  • Croutons
  • French fries
  • Gravies
  • Imitation meat or seafood
  • Matzo
  • Pastas
  • Processed luncheon meats
  • Salad dressings
  • Sauces
  • Soy sauce
  • Seasoned rice mixes
  • Seasoned snack foods, such as potato and tortilla chips
  • Self-basting poultry
  • Soups and soup bases
  • Vegetables in sauce

Also be aware of Halal and Kosher food diets. Click the links to find out more.

Once you have studied up on these special diets get creative with some new and different menu planning. Don’t think of it as an annoyance to cater to these types of clients, look at it as an exciting challenge, and new way to expand upon your favorite dishes.

ACW offers a Food safety class that also includes allergy and gluten free training.

You may have found us by searching for:

  • How to cook for vegans
  • Vegan Passenger Recipes
  • Private Jet catering for vegans
  • Gluten Free Passengers
  • Nut allergy and flying on private jets
  • Corporate Flight Attendants and food allergies
  • Lactose free food form flight passengers and recipes