Although you may have a food allergy, no matter how minimal or severe, it does not mean you cannot enjoy time with friends and family at local restaurants. Going out to eat with loved ones is a great leisure activity, however, if you have a food allergy it can turn that entertainment into a stressful venture. The good news is, with help from our experts in Springfield, Illinois at Loukinens’ on 4th, we have tips to help limit the stress and maximize the enjoyment.
Knowing What to Avoid
When deciding on a place to eat, think about the venue and cuisine they offer. For certain food allergies, there should be restaurants you are better off avoiding, for instance:
- Buffets offer a variety of food that is packed closely together, which increases your risk of exposure and cross-contact.
- Bakeries make many items that are laced with the top nine allergens, if you have one of them, it is best to stay away.
- Restaurants that carry pre-made foods. With food allergies, it’s important to avoid these kinds of restaurants because you cannot ask the chef to remove problem ingredients.
Picking A Restaurant
When it comes to picking the restaurant, ask around and see what is recommended, your allergist might have the perfect place for you. Before going to the restaurant, browse their menu and see what their meals are made of. Chain restaurants are a great option because they are more than likely preparing food the same way, and they are pretty good when it comes to customers with a food allergy.
Preparing for Your Restaurant Experience
- Call ahead and speak to a manager to see if they can work with your food allergy needs.
- Timing is important, it is best to go when the kitchen is not as busy to avoid a mistake. The best time to dine is during the first hour of a service period.
- Bring a card to give to your chef that lists your food allergies so your food can be prepared in a clean and safe environment without cross-contamination.
- Even if you take all the necessary precautions, accidents can happen which is why you need to be prepared. Always carry your epinephrine auto-injector and medications you need.
Choosing Your Meal
Try to keep it as simple as possible, the more complicated questions, the more room for error. If you are not confident that your server is understanding your needs, avoid ordering it. Avoid eating fried foods, grills and frying oil are prime for cross-contamination, unless you know for a fact they are prepared safely, its best to not order fried foods. When ordering dessert, be very careful and make sure you know exactly what is in it, desserts are known to have a source of hidden allergens. Follow these tips and the next time you eat out; it will give you more time to focus on the fun and less on the stress.