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Eating Out with a Food Allergy: Have a Plan

Posted Sep 14 2011 6:39am
If you missed part 1 and part 2 of this series, be sure to check them out.

If you're not a planner when your child is first diagnosed with a peanut allergy, you quickly learn you need to become one. It's certainly one of the most important aspects of effectively managing a food allergy, particularly when it comes to eating away from home.

Finally, that little personality quirk I have pays off! :)

Things don't always go as planned when it comes to food and your job, as the parent, is to quickly adapt so your child can eat safely without too much interruption.

Here are a few more tips to eating out with a food allergy as we finish up this series on eating out with a food allergy.

1.) Have a Backup Plan. Always think ahead. If that means bringing extra food even when you think safe food will be present, do that. Anytime we visit a place I'm not 100% sure will have safe food, I scope out all the fast food places near the spot we will be visiting. It's not unheard of for me to leave when I'm not sure food is safe and go to where I know I can find safe food (such as McDonald's, etc).

2.) Be Aware of Cross Contamination. We have a rule in our house that Tyler never eats desserts at restaurants because most places have nuts in desserts. Even if a place tells me something is "safe," I just don't want to take the chance because the risk of cross contamination is so high. Along the same lines if a salad or a main dish has nuts in it, you need to ask lots of questions to see if there could be possible cross contamination.

3.) Be Prepared. I always carry safe candy in my purse. I have no idea when we might be somewhere and be in a situation where my other child might receive something Tyler can't have. By having his favorite candy on hand, he's usually content when can't have something but he gets his special candy. Being prepared goes much further than being prepared for what you know is coming, it extends to the things you don't know are coming.

4.) Trust Your Instincts. This is something I can't stress enough. It's hard to put into words, really. Moms know what I'm talking about. God gave Moms a "Mother's Instinct" for a reason. If you feel like your child might be in danger, ask questions. Don't let them eat something. Do what you have to do to keep them safe. Trust those instincts!

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