Avoid triggering your food allergies when dining at restaurants

Avoid triggering your food allergies when dining at restaurants

Food allergies are complex. Some people can’t eat dairy, while others will suffer from one single peanut or any other tree nut. The most common outcome of a food allergy is anaphylaxis, which can lead to death in the worst case. Unfortunately, up to 2% of the UK’s population have a specific food allergy that includes eggs, fish, sesame and soy, these being base ingredients in everyday meals.

Living with a severe food allergy can alter your life significantly, given that most food is now processed. Many modern products have traces of dairy or nut ingredients, minimising people’s opportunity to expand their meals. And while cooking at home can protect you better, eating at restaurants can be an unpleasant experience, especially when cooks are mistakenly cross-contaminating the meals.

So, if you want to dine out with your friends and family without having severe symptoms, here’s how to do it.

Always inform staff of your allergy

It is your duty to inform a restaurant’s staff of your allergy condition because you ensure minimising the likelihood of troubles appearing. No matter which places to eat you choose, even if it’s vegan, Asian or Italian, know that all cuisines might be prone to food contamination and also use unique recipes.

But if you’ve announced the illness and still received a meal containing whatever ingredient triggers your condition, you’re eligible to claim compensation for allergic reactions. Depending on your symptoms, you can earn a modest sum of money in the case of itchiness or more if you show signs of anaphylaxis.

Choose restaurants that respect safety norms in the kitchen

It would be best to avoid restaurants whose information about allergens is missing because they clearly don’t prioritise this matter. Therefore, before going out, we recommend researching restaurants that are wary of possible ingredients driving allergies and posting all the allergens used in their meals.

However, if these locals are usually crowded, it’s best to avoid them because the kitchen rush can lead to cross-contamination. At the same time, restaurant workers might not have the time to listen to your requirements or remember your issue. This is why hidden gems are always best because they prioritise the customer.

Order simple meals

While having a food allergy is scary, you must also refrain from tasting crazy meals that might have been contaminated. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ll choose a vegan dietary lifestyle as a way of living safely, but you should still be mindful of a restaurant’s meals.

Keeping your orders simple can significantly minimise risks of contamination. That’s why boiled or steamed foods are better than fried, which may have used nut-based oils. At the same time, watch out for deserts because some local restaurants choose to buy them from third parties instead of preparing them in their own kitchen, which also raises the possibility of triggering your allergy.

Spread awareness among friends and family

People who don’t have any food allergies might have trouble relating to your issue since they can freely eat anything. This might make them make wrong decisions in what involves your health, such as choosing bad restaurants that don’t have any meals for you or gifting sweets that include nuts or dairy products.

However, you must try to make them understand the gravity of eating something you’re allergic to. For example, you can send them articles on food allergy symptoms or videos of people demonstrating the effects of anaphylaxis.

It would also be helpful to teach your family and friends how to use an epinephrine auto-injector.

That’s because if you’re not able to do it on your own and getting medical help takes a lot of time, you have around 30 to 60 minutes until symptoms of anaphylaxis appear.

So, each time you get a new device, make sure you teach the people around you how to use it. At the same time, review some of the signs that indicate an allergic reaction they should be aware of, such as the following:

  • Having trouble breathing;
  • Being unable to swallow;
  • Coughing a lot;
  • Having a weak pulse;
  • Getting hives or rashes on the skin;
  • Vomiting or having diarrhoea;

Managing food allergies when cooking at home

Handling your allergies when preparing your meals at home is also tricky, considering most products are processed in factories, increasing their chances of being contaminated with other ingredients. While this process isn’t totally harmful to your health, as it destroys bad bacteria, it might limit your meal choices.

Therefore, you have to be very careful when choosing products. Reading labels is vital, and you must check all unknown ingredients to ensure there’s nothing toxic for you in the product’s composition. Even if you’re purchasing the same things for your regular dishes, it would be best to read the labels since manufacturers sometimes change their ingredients.

At the same time, when you’re cooking in your kitchen, you must learn about cross-contamination and try avoiding it. This means you don’t use the same utensils for multiple meals, and you must wash them thoroughly with hot water and soap. Or when you’re at someone’s house, ask the person who’s cooking politely to allow you to prepare your own dishes or change utensils for your meal.

Finally, a medical alert bracelet is necessary for being correctly diagnosed in case of an emergency following serious symptoms. Some bracelets are also made with more space when instructions for help are written, so regardless of where you are, someone can help administer the epinephrine dose properly and save your life. A medical bracelet is also advisable if, besides the food allergy, you have another condition that might interfere with it.

Final considerations

Living with a food allergy can be difficult, especially when you can’t eat a primary ingredient, like eggs or milk. It can also be more complex if multiple elements trigger your allergies. However, with carefulness regarding your symptoms and attention from friends and family, you might be able to tackle the problem without having severe problems.

More Services