Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Freaking out Eating out? - Restaurants

One of the biggest obstacles when you have a food allergy or intolerance is eating out. Depending on the allergy, some people get it easier than others. But if your like me and it feels like a nightmare, here are my top tips to stop you freaking out eating out!

1) Keep it simple.

When you eat out it really is not a time to be trying new things, or going for more complex dishes. The simpler you go the safer you are. Before I found out I had intolerances eating out was time to forget the diet forget the calories and just indulge in what I fancied. Well now the roles have changed. I like to try new things at home and make more complexed meals as I am in control of the ingredients I am using and I can be 100% sure there is nothing I am allergic to touching my food. When I eat out I keep it very simple. Go for your 'safe dish'. Mine would be either a salad or if possible plain rice a piece of fish or meat and some veg. I just go for what is the plainest.

2) Dressing an issue?

If like me you find allergies in salad dressings here are 2 quick and easy tips. First would be if possible at your restaurant ask them to switch your dressing for some olive oil and lemon and I prefer to ask for it on the side. BUT to be safe I take with me a small picnic dressing container I found at the supermarket and fill it up with my preferred dressing. This way you can choose your salad and ask for it without the dressing and when it arrives quickly put yours on and everyone is happy!

3) Be Prepared

Something I can't bare is when the waiter is standing there waiting for your order and everyone else on your table is ready and you feel like you have to quickly make a decision. 90% of the time I either end up with a meal I didn't really want or I have a reaction because there is something in it which I'm allergic to and I miss read it on the menu. My first major tip is to look up the restaurant you are going to online before you go. This way you can pre scan the menu and look at what your options are, so once you are at the restaurant you already know what you can have. Secondly I know sometimes you feel like you can't hold people up making your decision and if your like me I hate making a scene about it. However if you feel you can then do! Don't let someone pressure you and then end up having a terrible meal! It not your fault you might eat a nut and have a fit! I think it is harder when your with a group but what I do is I immediately start choosing my meal as soon as the menu is in my hands and then once I have chosen it I can sit back relax and join in with the table conversation. 

4) Skip Chains 

What I have found with a lot of chain restaurants is a lot of the food is pre made. You think it is made there and then in the kitchen but many of the sauces and certain elements of a meal are pre made. This means these types of restaurants are unable to alter your order if you ask for something to be taken out. The gluten free options seems to be getting more popular in chain restaurants now however if you have other allergies such as nuts, dairy and specific foods I would try to stay clear of these restaurants if you can. I know it can be expensive but in all honesty the higher quality the restaurant the better chance you have finding an allergy free meal! 

These are just the things I have learnt in the past 2 and a half months and Im sure I will pick up a few more in the future! If you have any tips comment below :)

Ivy x


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