Latest posts by Lyndsay Edwards (see all)
- SALE 0-3 Years Recipe eBook – Dairy, Soya, Wheat, Gluten & Egg Free - June 1, 2017
- Dairy Free Easter Eggs At Asda - March 4, 2017
- 20 Dairy Free Biscuits Not In The Free From Aisle At Asda - January 30, 2017
If you’ve seen some of my recent posts then you will know that I am now the official food blogger for the Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy Support Charity. CMPA Support are a wonderful charity; their aims are to raise awareness of the allergy at all levels, so that future generations of CMPA babies (& their families) shouldn’t have to suffer; and to provide information, support and practical advice to parents/carers at whichever stage of the CMPA journey they are on. You can find CMPA Support on Facebook and join one of their many Facebook support groups. I publish one food related blog post per week on behalf of CMPA Support and I am very excited to be a part of such an amazing charity.
Eating Out With Food Allergies Safely
I was recently asked in the CMPA Support group on Facebook, if I could make a list of ‘safe’ places to eat out with food allergies. I have been to some chain restaurants and had some great experiences eating their safely with my allergic child, however I have revisited the same restaurants on different occasions and had quite different experiences. It all boils down to the staff serving you on the day but there a few things you can do to make the process less stressful and hopefully ensure you get to eat out safely.
I rarely eat out at the last minute these days and I tend to carry a packed lunch with us wherever we go ‘just in case’ but when we are wanting to eat out I plan it in advance. If our friends invite us to a particular restaurant I will Google the restaurant to find out if I can see their menu online. Some restaurants also have their allergy information on their website which is great but I will always phone to double check, not all websites are updated regularly. If I can see the menu online I’ll choose a particular meal for my son which I think could possibly be free from his food allergies and then I’ll phone the restaurant to ask them. If the staff member on the phone says I’m not sure (this often happens) I just politely ask them to go and check with the chef or put me through to a manager. Not everyone is food allergy aware so I don’t let this frustrate me, I wouldn’t have had a clue before having my son. Usually by phoning ahead I can plan exactly what we are going to order when we get there, this takes the stress away. There’s nothing worse than dreading going out for a family meal in case there are literally no safe foods on the menu for you or your child. If we are going out for the day to a new area, somewhere we haven’t been before, I will literally become the FBI and find out exactly what restaurants and cafes are in that area and then I’ll do the same as above, plus take an extra packed lunch ‘just in case’ – I may get named the bag lady soon!
Inform the staff of your food allergies straight away and ask if they have an allergy menu/folder or anything with the information on that you can read for yourself. I always ask for the manager to check the allergy menu with me, four eyes are better than two and ideally the manager will have been trained to read it. I had a recent experience where I wasn’t satisfied that the waitress had taken our order and food allergies seriously, I asked to speak to the manager three times and she kept telling me it’s ok she can deal with it. I was fuming to say the least but it was my mums birthday meal so I didn’t want to walk out (I would have otherwise). Luckily the manager walked past our table so I called him over and voiced my concerns, he went into the kitchen and came back with our order written down and said that the waitress had informed the kitchen staff. I looked over his shoulder at the receipt and it said gluten & soya free! I informed the manager that I had told her about dairy as well, he then got the allergy folder and went through everything with me and apologised on behalf of the waitress. This is a restaurant that we have been to a number of times and previously received excellent service in regards to catering for my child’s allergies and that is why we had chosen to go there for my mums birthday. I thought it would be easy and familiar but it literally boils down to the staff on the day. The manager actually remembered us after we spoke and we managed to have a safe meal but since then I have decided to carry allergy cards with us wherever we go. I have written my child’s allergies on them and I now hand them into the staff to give to the chef, that way the waitress or whoever is serving us can’t miss any off the list! You can get your free allergy cards here.
Don’t Be Offended
We have been in situations where there is just nothing suitable on the menu (even the chips contained soya). When this happens I just thank the staff for their time and their honesty. If they can’t cater for my allergic child then I would rather them be honest about it and leave us safe to go elsewhere rather than try to create something and cause an allergic reaction. Of course it sucks that we are not able to eat there and it’s an inconvenience but, I always try and remain positive, I don’t want my child to see me getting upset or stressed out. I want him to grow up with a positive attitude towards food and be able to manage his food allergies safely, so as much as I just want to cry at times I try my best to set a positive example.
Anywhere my son goes, his antihistamine medicine and inhaler go, there are no ifs or buts it stays with him 24/7 no matter what and I would recommend anyone with food allergies or food intolerances to do the same. If you or your child has an auto injector (epi pen) then absolutely take it everywhere with you, especially when eating out. If possible always carry two auto injectors with you. Not all ambulances in the UK carry epi pens (auto injectors) so if you do find yourself in a position where you are having to phone for an ambulance it’s important that you explain to the person on the phone that you will need an epi pen.
Recently I have received a lot of questions on our Facebook page about the symptoms of cow’s milk protein allergy and I think it would be great if we can share our questions and support each other on this journey. I have created a group on Facebook so we all have somewhere we can discuss and support each other in regards to living with cow’s milk protein allergy. Please take the time to read the group description. It is a closed group so, only members can see and reply to posts.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, by using these links at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small fee which will help with the running cost of Living With Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy Blog. Thank you for your support in this way. These affiliate links are not associated with or endorsed by CMPA Support Charity in any way.