Five Things You Should Do When You Eat Out If You Have Food Allergies

You can still enjoy eating out, even if you suffer from food allergies. You may need to take some special precautions, but there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to kick back and have someone else prepare a delicious meal for you.

The following are five things you should do when you eat at restaurants, if you have food allergies, to enjoy the experience without risking any health issues:

Realize that many other people have to deal with food allergies

You might sometimes feel frustrated that you can't be completely carefree when making menu choices because you have to deal with the allergy issue. However, there are many other people out there who have to deal with allergies, just as you do.

Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) estimates that 15 million Americans suffer from food allergy issues. Those with food allergies should know that they're not alone. 

Let the waitstaff know about any severe allergies before you order

There tend to be a lot of ingredients that go into each and every menu choice at a restaurant. It's therefore a good idea to bring up your food allergy with the waitstaff to make sure you're not going to order a dish that will trigger an allergic response.

Make sure you check out the food menu of a restaurant beforehand if you know you'll be going there

If you have food allergies, you might want to put a little thought into restaurant menus before it's time to dine so that you have a bit more time to find an appropriate menu choice.

This gives you a heads-up if a particular restaurant doesn't offer many menu options that are free of allergy aggravating ingredients. You can then opt for another restaurant if necessary.

Be especially careful when you're dining at a restaurant with an unfamiliar ethnic cuisine

As a food-allergy sufferer, you need to be especially careful when dining at ethnic restaurants that serve a cuisine that you're unfamiliar with.

Do a little research on standard dishes of unfamiliar ethnic cuisines to make sure you know of a few common menu items that won't aggravate your allergies. 

Ask specifically about any menu choices that you're uncertain of

Don't be afraid to speak up and ask specific questions if you want to make sure a certain item that interests you is free of allergy-causing ingredients.

If waitstaff doesn't know the answer, ask them to speak with those who are working in the kitchen and are more familiar with recipe details.