Whether you’re planning for a party at your house, at a restaurant or baking for an event, we’ve got some tips below to help you with eating out with a person with food allergies.
First, and perhaps most importantly make sure to understand what your friend’s food allergy is. Assumptions are the source of all error, and by fully understanding the extent of the allergy you’ll be able to reassure your friend and create the best environment for them.
Also do read our article on Fake Food Allergies to understand this problem.
Eating out with a friend with a food allergy is perhaps the hardest event to plan as you have limited control over food preparation. There are lots of things you can do to help keep your friend safe and comfortable.
Perhaps the best way to put your friend at ease is to research venues. You can do this by an internet search and calling up the restaurant. If the venue has clear process in place for dealing with food allergies, this tends to be a good indication. Reassure your friend that you’ve looked into where they will be eating out and let the restaurant know about their dietary requirements, they will appreciate it.
Be compassionate about your friend’s needs. It can be worrying eating out with a food allergy or intolerance especially at somewhere you don’t know. Encourage your friend to ask questions and to check the food when it arrives and don’t make them feel awkward about asking questions. If your friend still doesn’t feel comfortable about eating at the restaurant then find somewhere else to go.
Ideally, you should also know where your friend’s medication is in case they have an attack, and you need to use it.
Eating in at home or cooking for someone with allergies
Best practise is not to have food in the house that your friend is allergic to. Cutting out food groups is not always realistic, however, so a few basic hygiene rules apply.
Check the ingredients before you use a product, especially in processed or prepared foods, because manufacturers do occasionally change the ingredients. You should also be checking for what ingredients the food contains and what the food “may contain”.
Cross-contamination can also happen in your kitchen. Keep the food preparation area clean and clear of all foods that the person is allergic to. Furthermore, Use all new and unopened ingredients if you’ve handled them previously with ingredients that your friend is allergic to. Also thoroughly clean all your utensils.
Do you have a friend with a food allergy? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below. Similarly, if you have a food allergy what would you like your friends to be aware of?