Have Food Allergies? 6 Tips for Ordering in Restaurants

Have Food Allergies? 6 Tips for Ordering in Restaurants

Published August 18, 2021 in healthguides.cnn.com
By Greg Mcconnell

Allergen Alert!

Whether they’re having fast food at lunch or a dinner with friends, most people enjoy eating out at restaurants. But if you have a food allergy, you have to be extra careful. Some allergic reactions to food can be serious, even life-threatening. Unfortunately, some restaurant employees are not properly trained to provide allergy-safe meals. “Hidden ingredients” are another common cause of food-allergic reactions in restaurants. So what are some things you can do to have a safer dining experience at a restaurant? Get some tips on restaurant survival.

Get Smart

For starters, be familiar with the food(s) to which you are allergic. Know all the names they can be called and any hidden sources.

Speak Up

Tell the wait staff about your allergy and ask about any menu items that may cause you problems. If they can’t answer your questions, ask to speak with a manager. Or review the restaurant’s menu in advance. Many restaurants post their menus on the Internet. This is a quick and easy way to view the menu and decide if it’s a good choice for you.

Carry Your Card

Use a “chef card” that can be given to the kitchen staff. Include which food(s) you are allergic to, the ingredients you must avoid, and a brief reminder that all utensils, equipment, and prep surfaces must be well cleaned before they’re used to prepare your meal.

Keep Medicines Close

Emergencies never give forewarning. So carry your food-allergy medication, such as epinephrine, with you at all times.

Wear Alert Gear

Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace so others can quickly identify your allergy in an emergency.

Don’t Compromise

Whether you are eating at a restaurant or at a friend’s house, always let people who prepare your food know the seriousness of your allergy. One of the most difficult aspects of having a serious food allergy is convincing others that it is real.

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