Memorial Day “Taco Bar” Party



Memorial Day parties seem to imply the certainty of firing up the BBQ.  Although the warm weather and day-off from work scream “time outside,” that doesn’t necessarily mean you must have the traditional grilled hamburgers, hot dogs and pasta salads….especially when you have Crohn’s. Carcinogens from open flames, red fatty meats and salad dishes can cause a onslaught of digestion problems for people with IBD. But planning an outdoor party can get tricky when you have specific foods you have to avoid on a restrictive diet. You certainly don’t want to feel like you are an outsider at your own party when it comes to the menu….you want to participate just like everyone else.  Striking the balance of preparing a meal that everyone can enjoy but with options that you can actually eat is the ultimate goal.  Here is where the “taco bar” comes into play as one of our favorite party options with Crohn’s. Whether planning a Cinco de Mayo get-together or a summer BBQ,  a taco bar provides delicious options for individuals on all kinds of diets.  Served buffet style, each guest can compile a plate that works just for them, ensuring that no one feels different or left out (all while still serving delicious food of course!)

What to Serve

Making sure there are several options for each main “taco” component for this type of party is key.  Providing both corn and flour tortillas, or even lettuce wraps or just plain rice,  will give everyone a base they can work with. Even baked potatoes for those who are both gluten and corn sensitive work great with taco toppings.  Serving several meats ranging from spicy to no spice at all, as well as a vegetarian option (such as tofu or even just roasted vegetables) should cover all your guests.  Side dishes and salsas are where people can truly customize their food with a final touch of flavor. Stop by a local Mexican Market with a salsa bar to easily get stocked up on several types of salsas without breaking the bank. Knowing other special food restrictions for guests can help adjust your menu as well. If you are a person who loves to cook, you truly can go nuts with endless options. Making some of the dishes ahead of time, such as pork carnitas, in a slow cooker will allow you to enjoy more stress-free time at the party.  You can also keep it super simple with just a few options, or ask guests to bring a specific side, sauce or topping of their choice that works for them potluck style. Here is a list of some variations you may want to consider including at your party:

Taco Base:

Corn Tortillas, Flour Tortillas, Hard Shell Tacos, Plain White Rice, Lettuce Wraps or Baked Potato

Taco Meats:

Shredded Chicken, Spicy Ground BeefCarne Asada, Pork Carnitas, Tofu or Roasted Vegetables (Try to provide an option packed with flavor, as well as a “safer” plain option for those who can’t tolerate spice.)

Creamy Toppings– Diced Avocados, Shredded Cheese, Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt

Fillers – Shredded Lettuce or Cabbage, Grilled Corn, Diced Jalepenos, Black Beans, Sliced Radishes, Sautéed Onions, Peppers and Mushrooms

Sauces- Salsa, Mango Salsa (for those who can’t handle tomatoes,) Avocado Crema, Chipotle Sour Cream

Drinks – Soda, Lemonade and some kind of Alcohol are always big hits, but check out these Kombucha Mocktails for those who can’t tolerate other drinks.

Don’t forget Chips and Salsa, Limes and Chopped Cilantro!

Set up a table buffet style, allowing all guests to mix and match a meal of their choosing. Sit back, relax and enjoy a great taco bar party with family and friends!


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