A Spoonful of Caution
When you have food allergies, one of your greatest challenges can be eating out. Countless times I have walked into a new restaurant and either watched everyone else eat or left because they could not accommodate me. Following are a few tips on how I approach eating out.
Before arriving at the restaurant, I ...
Call first, asking what type of oil they cook with (I’m allergic to peanuts). Beware: A surprising number of food establishments cook with peanut oil.
Tell them what I would like to order so that the chef can assure me that those items will be safe. Some restaurants prepare seafood in the same space that they prepare their chicken, turkey, etc., so I proceed with caution.
Choose a dining time during non-peak hours because I am more likely to get safer and better service. If I can make an online reservation, I put my food allergies in the notes section so that they are prepared for my arrival.
When I arrive at the restaurant, I …
Check in with the hostess and tell them my food allergies so that they can alert my waiter. When I meet the waiter, I reiterate my food allergies AND I give them my food allergy card to share with the chef.
Always examine my food before eating. I do not just take a bite — I look at it, smell it, or whatever is necessary to make sure there are no offenders in my meal.
Thank the waiter for accommodating me — a little appreciation goes a long way.