4 Tips for Managing Food Allergies at Restaurants
Going out to eat with food allergies is not easy. Learning how to order and eat out is a skill that any parents will need to learn. Here are 4 tips you and your family can use when going out to eat with your child who has food allergies.
Tip 1: Always be Prepared
When searching for a restaurant to eat at, preparation is key in protecting your family. Check their website or yelp page for their menu and look for what items are possibly dangerous to your child with food allergies. If you cannot find anything that does not include food allergy, it is probably best to locate a new restaurant. If you are struggling to find a place to eat at, check out the restaurant guide from AllergyEats.
Once you find a restaurant, call ahead of time to find out if they are accommodating to the food allergies in your family. If they are friendly and accommodating to the food allergies, plan to go during their off times. The less crowded the restaurant, the easier it will be for the chefs to pay attention to the food allergies. If you have to go to a particular restaurant that does not work with you, pack your own food. If your child requires an epinephrine pen, be sure to bring it to any restaurant.
Tip 2: Communicate with the Restaurant
Communication is going to be essential to keep your family safe. Once you arrive at the restaurant, let your waiter know of the food allergies in your family and how severe they are. If you need food to be prepped separate from the allergen, let the server know. If you and your family go out often, it might be smart to invest in an allergy information card. This card would contain all the essential information in regards to your allergy. Click the image below to be led to My Kid’s Food Allergies’s Chef Card!
While ordering, always ask questions about the ingredients in their meals. Ask specific questions like “Does this item have peanuts?” or “Can this item be prepared away from dairy?” Teach your child how ask these questions and encourage them to ask them.
Tip 3: Ordering Simple
If you family shares food often, check everything you order. Ordering something simple will help keep your child safe, such as foods without sauces and soups. If the food is more simple, it will be easier for the chefs to accommodate to the specific food allergy. Skipping the buffet and salad bar is always a smart choice. Many of the food in the buffet do not have the ingredients listed and can be very dangerous for those with food allergies. The utensils on the buffets are shared and might be contaminated with your child’s food allergies.
Tip 4: Don’t be afraid to leave
If you do not feel 100% confident that the restaurant you are at will protect your child, then leave. Share your experience online about their inability to cater to food allergies, warning others to skip out on the restaurant. It is better to leave than possibly risk your child’s health.
Are these tips helpful for you? Do you have any tips you personally use with your family while eating out? Let us know in the comments below!