Eating Out With Food Allergies

March 3, 2009 at 8:09 pm Leave a comment

Because food allergies pose such a threat to those who live with them, you may wonder if it’s possible to go out to eat safely.  I have to say it IS possible.  I’ve created a tab at the top right of this blog labeled “Eating Out”.  It is a work in progress, but my goal is to update it as I find new restaurants with allergy menus and/or ingredient lists.  I have already listed a few, but have several more to add to it.  I will do that as time permits.  If you have any that I do not have on the list, please reply to this post with that information and I will add it!

While we’re on the subject of eating out, I thought I’d place a few cautious reminders on here:

  • ALWAYS bring your EpiPens!!  I carry 2 EpiPens at all times for my daughter.  One may not be enough to get you or your food-allergic child to the hospital in time.  I carry her EpiPens with us everywhere we go and I have 2 at home in an accessible place for our babysitter and/or anyone taking care of my child to reach easily.  I thank the Lord that we have not yet had to use one, but we have them just in case!  Think of them as a life insurance policy!  You pay the price, hoping you won’t ever need them!
  • ALWAYS carry liquid Benadryl with you.  I have a bottle of liquid Benadryl in my daughter’s bag with her EpiPens, in an upstairs bathroom and in the kitchen on our main floor.  I can’t tell you how many times Benadryl has helped keep us from going to the ER.  It is a lifesaver!  In the most severe reactions, I suggest that the ER is still the best option (in addition to Benadryl and/or EpiPen) because allergic reactions can return even though you think the worst is over.  When in doubt, call 911.
  • ALWAYS take a copy of the restaurant’s allergy menu with you so that you can show the waitress/waiter exactly what you want.  You may want to even write your child’s allergies on that paper so she/he can show it to the cook.  It has been suggested that you should alert the manager of the restaurant, as well, to ensure that your food is cooked separate from all others.  I know this may seem like a hassle, but it is better to be safe!!  If there is not an allergy menu, you can take the ingredient list instead.  Sometimes, I call ahead and talk to the manager about it to see if they are happy to accommodate the food allergies.  I’ve done this for Ruby Tuesday and it worked to my advantage.
  • ALWAYS be aware of the environment at the restaurant you are planning to attend.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, some have peanuts served at each table and the peanut shells are tossed onto the floor (aka EVERYWHERE!) and this is obviously hazardous to someone who has peanut allergies.  Know your surroundings before you go.
  • You may want to carry disinfectant wipes or baby wipes with you to restaurants because you never know what has been left on the table and in the seat where your child will sit.  I try to clean my daughter’s chair, table, etc. when we go out to eat.  I don’t leave it up to someone else to watch over my child’s safety where food is concerned.  And in this case, I totally do not mind looking like a paranoid mother when I go out in public.  I’m proud to be one.

Feel free to leave your tips/comments here, as well.  Maybe someone else can benefit from your ideas!

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Allergy-Free Recipes! On the surface…

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