Food allergy or intolerance should never hold you back from eating out, but you should follow some precautions to prevent possible problems, especially choosing from a menu. Menus do not often tell you everything about a meal – and that’s a major problem for people with food allergies. Choosing the wrong food can cause allergic reactions that can be fatal, omissions can be fatal in the end.
Even small amounts of an allergen can lead to a reaction, caution is essential. Dressings, marinades, oils and sauces – even the materials used for cooking the food – could all cause a problem. So, it is best to inform the staff about any food issues, ask questions about the course, and go over the menu with your server.
If possible, get a list of everything that is added into a meal, and not just the main ingredients. Ask questions such as:
- What comprises the meal? Is there a sauce or marinade?
- Did it use any oils? If so, what oils?
- Is it possible to prepare the meal separate from the other meals that may contain an allergen?
- Are there meals especially intended for food allergy sufferers?
People with known food allergy should do an advance research even before getting into the restaurant. Ask questions and call ahead, seize the opportunity to know the restaurant’s menu through the internet – most food establishments have a website where you can find their menus. Check out list of restaurants that offer meals that are safe for people with certain allergies.
If the meal includes an allergen, you can ask the server if there are any possible alternatives. Usually, restaurants prepare variations of meals to suit the needs of their clients.
Food allergy can be triggered even by taking in slightest amount of allergen. If you have food issues, you should be skeptical about meals with glaze or sauce. Better ask what is included in the sauce that covers your vegetables or meals. The menu may not tell you but there could be peanuts or soy sauce or flour in the sauce. Even salads may contain allergens, such as breads or croutons. So don’t be too complacent about ordering salads. Go over the menu and ask questions to prevent unwanted reactions.
Food allergy should not be taken lightly. It can occur anytime and can lead to serious reactions. However, these potentially fatal consequences could be prevented by exercising caution.