5 Tips For Eating Out If You Have An Allergy
Allergies / intolerances / special diets can be a bit daunting to manage when first diagnosed.
Especially when it comes to eating out. You wonder how it’s ever going to be possible.
My son has had food intolerances for years and we also see lots of people on a daily basis in our cafe who are on special diets for a range of reasons, so we thought we’d help compile a little list to help you venture out happily and safely.
Firstly, instead of focusing on what you can’t eat, why don’t you flip the thought, and get excited bout all the new foods you can try!
There are lots of alternative options to the mainstream allergies now, as thankfully, society has caught up with the intolerant, and now we really are spoilt for choice!
Tip 1. Phone ahead. Have a chat with the waitstaff or ask to speak to the chef. Tell them your allergies and ask if they can accommodate you. If you give them notice and be friendly they will usually be able to help.
Tip 2. Know your allergy list. Know exactly what you can eat and what you can’t. Just telling a teenage waitress you are salicylate free, can’t have tree nuts or are lactose free, is not clear enough, and most likely, you will end up with something on your plate that you shouldn’t have because you weren’t specific in your instructions. Take your list with you, so you can cross reference, but always double check with the kitchen.
Tip 3. Ask if the chef can swap ingredients. But again, be really nice about it! Apologizing for being a pain when requesting changes (even though you aren’t!), will make the staff be a bit more willing to adjust things, compared to demanding it not be there, and the answer will be “not a chance”! Remember, a lot of things in a commercial kitchen are prepared in advance so the lunch rush or dinner service is quicker for you as a customer, sometimes changes just can’t be made, but if you go back to tip number one, where you have rung ahead and asked, maybe the chefs have made you special versions. (it does happen!)
Tip 4. Have an app handy. If you are new to eating a certain way, look for apps that you can have on your phone that you can look up if something is safe or not. The Chemical Maze is a great app to start with.
Tip 5. Have a back up plan. Pack a snack pack full of safe options, just in case there are no options. Especially if you have kids on special diets. Most cafes and restaurants have lots of options now, but functions are often a bit of a kerfuffle. Sadly, even when you let kitchens know ahead, sometimes they just don’t care or understand enough to cater for you..This is not the norm now, thankfully, but to save starvation or sickness, pack a bit of charcoal powder to help detox if you have been given a food you are intolerant to by accident, and always keep some safe foods in your bag!
Love to hear your thoughts too,