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Dining Out with Food Allergies

“Enjoying restaurant meals with friends and family doesn’t have to be off limits just because you have a food allergy. With the right planning and preparation, eating out can still be an enjoyable part of your life. Here are some tips for dining out safely, whether at a local restaurant or while traveling.

  • Before You Go – Search the Web for allergy-friendly restaurants in your area or where you will be traveling. Ask your allergist and other individuals and families who manage food allergies for recommendations. To see if a particular restaurant may be a good choice, check out the website and review the menu in advance.

  • Call ahead and ask to speak to a manager. Ask about the dishes you might want to order. Explain your needs and ask if the restaurant can accommodate you. Call before or after the busy mealtime hours so the manager and chef will have more time to work with you.
  • Ask if the person you speak with will be at the restaurant while you’re there. If not, ask for the name of the manager or staff member who is aware of the circumstances.
  • If you plan to attend a catered event where the food will be prepared in advance, ask if it’s possible to provide an allergy-friendly option.
  • Bring a chef card. This wallet-sized card lists your food allergies and states that your food must be cooked in a clean and safe area to avoid cross-contamination. You can find online sources for cards in multiple languages, or make your own.”

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