Navigating the foodie world with food allergies can be a challenging task. Your mealtimes might become a game of high-stakes roulette, where any wrong move could have disastrous consequences. But you don’t have to let this hold you back from enjoying a night out with friends or a romantic date with your partner. Dining out with food allergies is possible, and with some careful planning and the right approach, you can savor delicious cuisine without worry.
Research and plan ahead
First, spend some time researching prospective restaurants before deciding where to eat. Many restaurants now provide menus and allergen information online, making it easy to determine if it’s a suitable choice. Websites and mobile apps like AllergyEats provide invaluable allergy ratings, reviews, and restaurant recommendations in your area. Social media and online reviews can also offer helpful insights into other customers’ experiences with food allergies at various eateries.
If a restaurant’s menu isn’t available online, call ahead and ask specific questions about how they handle food allergies and if they’re able to accommodate your needs.
Choose the right time to dine
Avoiding peak hours is a great way to ensure you have the time and attention you need from restaurant staff. Visiting a restaurant during quieter hours allows your server to devote more time to addressing your food allergy questions and concerns. It’s also easier for the kitchen staff to take care with your dish when they aren’t drowning in orders. Better yet, make a reservation to give the restaurant ample time to prepare before you arrive.
Speak with the staff about your allergies
When making a reservation or arriving at a restaurant, let them know of your food allergy immediately. Be confident in your conversation and don’t assume the staff will know what ingredients are dangerous for you – list them explicitly. Being assertive about your allergies will ensure your safety and help the staff better understand your needs.
Ask specific questions
When ordering from a menu, it’s crucial to ask detailed questions about ingredients, cooking methods, and potential cross-contamination risks. Don’t be afraid to request more information, as it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Be precise in your questions and avoid assumptions, as certain sauces and dishes may contain hidden ingredients that could pose a problem.
Carry safe snacks and allergy cards
Bringing allergen-free snacks and an allergy card can be incredibly helpful when dining out. If you’re unsatisfied with the available menu options or unsure of their safety, you’ll have a backup plan. Allergy cards are a valuable tool that display your allergies clearly and concisely, helping to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings. You can create your own allergy card or download ready-made versions from websites such as SelectWisely. There are also digital allergy cards that can be easily updated and accessed on your smartphone.
Bring Your Medications
Always carry your epi-pen and other allergy medications with you when dining out. Accidents can happen, and it is crucial to be prepared for any and all emergency situations. Make sure your companions know about your allergy and are aware of how to administer the medication in case of an allergic reaction.
Get Lasting Relief with our Sublingual Allergy Drops
Allergy immunotherapy is a safe and effective way to teach your body to tolerate allergenic substances. Our sublingual allergy drops offer painless relief from common food allergies with just a few drops under your tongue each day. Over time – for some patients in as few as 3 months – you can enjoy the comfort of dining out with ease. Contact us to learn more.