Food allergies are a common occurrence,
and although they can be serious for some, it doesn’t necessarily have to mean that your days of eating out have to be over!
In today’s society, many restaurants are becoming increasingly aware of and attentive to their patrons with food allergies. Some may offer diet-specific menu options or have suggestions for substitutions on their popular dishes.
If you or someone in your family is living with a food allergy, keep these tips in mind the next time you decide to grab a bite at your favorite restaurants!
1. KNOW YOUR ALLERGY
It is imperative that you understand your allergy inside and out. You should know which allergen specifically causes your reaction and any interchangeable names it goes by. When you experience an allergic reaction, what are your first symptoms and how severe are they? What measures need to be taken if you have a reaction? Do you have medications or auto-injectors with you just in case?
2. RESEARCH THE RESTAURANT
Nowadays, we live in the wonderful world where you can find the menu and endless reviews for most restaurants online. Give them a read-through before you decide on a location to make sure there are dishes available that fit your dietary needs.
3. CALL AHEAD
You want to be sure you meal is safe for you to eat, and that means taking the extra step to call the restaurant ahead of time. Ask to speak to a manager or head chef and let them know when you will be coming in, what your allergy is and whether or not they can accommodate your needs. This way, they can properly prepare for your arrival to better ensure your meal is paid extra close attention to.
4. TIMING IS EVERYTHING
It’s all about being strategic! Try and make reservations close to when the restaurant opens, that way there is a smaller chance of cross-contamination during preparation. Indicate your allergy when making your reservation and let the manager know when you have arrived. Most importantly, coming to a restaurant early usually means it is not busy yet, so your server will be able to give your table more attention and time, better ensuring your meal is handled properly.
5. PAY IT FORWARD
After all is said and done—and considering your meal was both delicious and allergen-free—be sure to let your server, the manager and/or the head chef know how appreciative you are for their careful attention and time. Spread the word on their social media sites and review sites about how they were able (or, of course, if they were unable) to accommodate your dietary needs to help out others in the same boat!
So here’s to full bellies and big smiles! If you have a food allergy, what are your favorite restaurants that are able to stick to your needs?
Health & happiness,