As the parent of a child with a food allergy, how do you go out to eat? Where do you go? What do you order?
Seeing as my son is still relatively young and just starting to really eat everything that we do this hadn’t been much of a problem for us. We usually took baby food with us and he ate that while we had dinner. But now we are getting to the point where he doesn’t want to eat baby food and it’s hard to always plan ahead and have healthy fresh food prepared and with us. I’ve realized more and more that it’s very difficult to eat out with him if we don’t already have some good information on what a place serves and which items are egg free. And even then, making sure that it’s prepared with clean utensils on clean surfaces to avoid cross contamination is a whole different story. For those of you with children who had several different allergies, you’re amazing. I don’t know how you do it! Seriously. One is hard enough to deal with for me.
We went to eat at Jason’s Deli the other night. My husband got a meal and the salad bar while I got a baked potato. I knew our son, Beau, could have some of the potato and cheese but I also wanted to have more of a variety for him. My husband had grabbed some of their delicious little muffins and I immediately went to my phone to search on Google in hopes of finding out allergy information. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything. The next time the manager was nearby we stopped her and asked if they contained egg. She said she was pretty sure they didn’t. Naturally, “pretty sure” wasn’t going to be a good enough answer to risk feeding them to our son. We asked if she could check to make sure because Beau had an egg allergy. She did go check for us and I’m so glad we asked, because she came back and told us that both kinds had eggs in them. Bummer.
On the way home that night, I started to do some more research on my phone. I wasn’t finding very many websites with allergy information for eating out. Do you know of any sites where we can find more information?
A few nights later we had Dominos Pizza, one of my favorites lately. If we don’t go eat at Pie Five, Dominos is our go to for a good delivery pizza. As our pizza arrived I put B in his high chair and prepared some snacks so he could eat with us. He throws massive fits if we eat in front of him and he doesn’t have anything to munch on. Are we the only ones with this problem?! He’s done this since he was itty bitty. Anyway, I have never thought to give him pizza before. I guess I just figured there was egg in all pizza dough and maybe even washed over the top of the crust. Something made me check their website to see if I could find out their ingredients. And there it was… And amazing easy to use webpage for food allergies. Dominos website has a page where you can choose a food allergy and it will show you an entire list of foods that do or do not have that ingredient in them. I LOVE this! Now I can’t say cross contamination wouldn’t be a problem, especially for those with severe allergies and multiple allergies, but I still think it’s a huge step in the right direction. I feel like every restaurant should offer this info in such an easy to find manner. So, Beau got to eat pizza with us for the first time! :)
My goal is to search restaurants and call around to some managers and see what type of info they can offer. Do we need to call ahead and have special meals made? Are “Chefs Cards” (handy little note cards that you hand to the chef that include all allergen info) helpful or necessary? Where can we find their allergen info? Do they have separate grills for food to be cooked on? Etc. Wish me luck, and if you already have any information please share it with us. We’d love to find out what you already know!
Here are some of the fast food chains and restaurants that I’ve found who have allergen menu information on their websites. Now if only we could get every place to do the same! I’ll keep adding to this list as I find more…