If you or a family member suffer from food allergies, then you already know how difficult it can be to enjoy eating dinner out. But with a few tips and tricks, you can confidently order your favorite dishes without fear of having to reach for your Epi-Pen.  With a sit down restaurant, you have the ability to talk to the chef, manager, and server about any allergies or special needs you and/or your family may have. Take control of your dining out experience by observing and following this list.

The Key to Knowledge:

  • Whomever you speak with, make sure they are knowledgeable about the menu, its ingredients, and its preparation.

Do Your Homework:

  • Peruse the menu ahead of time and pick a few options that you would like to order.

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words:

  • Additionally, provide a chef card, a business-sized card that lists your allergens as well as provides a picture and what the allergen can be found (eggs are used in many dessert and pastry dishes for example).

Don’t Forget Drinks and Dessert:

  • Many drinks either have or come in contact with these common allergens: egg, dairy, wheat, gluten, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, and/or soy. Make sure your drink isn’t an allergen culprit. Most desserts offered by restaurants contain these allergens as well, so it may be best to avoid dessert all together. And hey, it’ll help your waistline!

By clearly and politely communicating your special needs to your wait staff, you are more likely to have an incident free, enjoyable meal. It is encouraged to personally thank the staff and follow up with an email or thank you note.

Ramie Tritt, MD, President, Atlanta ENT