Read Time: 5 minutes
It’s not wise to use blanket statements, but in this case, we think it’s appropriate to assume most people enjoy going out to eat or have a few drinks to unwind.
There are no dishes, no mess to clean up in your kitchen, and no time-consuming food prep required to enjoy a night out at a restaurant, bar, or lounge.
However, for people with food allergies who are limited in what they can order off a menu, it can be hard to feel included in a night out. It can be a huge source of stress to try and find an option that won’t make them sick—or worse.
While some restaurants and venues are knowledgeable about food allergens and train their staff accordingly, there are still many places that are unable to guarantee their menu items are allergen-free.
Do you have an allergy? Minimize the stress and hassle of planning a night out with these five tips.
Be the Fearless Food Leader
Worried a loved one might forget about your allergy when they make a reservation? Are your group of friends trying to find a brewery to meet up after work?
Instead of worrying about what venue they might pick, take control and ownership of the plans. It’s worth having a conversation with close friends and family about your needs, and tell them that it would be less stressful for everyone involved if you picked a place you know is going to have safe options.
They will probably appreciate your initiative to assume the responsibility of the planning, and you eliminate the anxiety of wondering if you can even order.
Keep a List for Easy Decision-Making
Are you finding it hard to keep track of all the safe places to eat out? Or maybe you always recommend this one restaurant, but your partner wants to switch it up this weekend.
Save a note on your phone with a list of two or three options you like for each cuisine you enjoy. Whether it’s Italian, Thai, or Indian, you’ll always have some backup places when a family member is feeling picky.
Look Online and Call Ahead
Now we know it’s not fair to make planning a night out always fall on one person just because they have allergies. Inevitably, there will be a day when your friend really wants to check out the newest nightlife spot in town, or you don’t have time to assume the responsibility.
The easiest solution these days is to look online for a menu, then call the venue or restaurant in advance to double-check that they have cocktails and food you can safely order.
For example, if you have gluten intolerance and are going to a brewery for beers with some coworkers, check the menu online and call the venue to ask if they have gluten-free options like ciders or hard liquor alternatives to beer, which typically contain this allergen.
There are also apps that track allergies at restaurants and bars so that you can feel further assured before heading out for the evening.
The closer to whole, unpackaged, and raw, the less likely it will be that the food you order contains allergens. Obviously don’t play hard and fast with your health, but a good way to guide your decision is to look for menu items that contain as little as possible in their ingredients and are in their natural state (think organic vegetables, fruits, meat without GMOs, etc.)
In addition, it’s a good rule of thumb to stay away from fried dishes or meals with a lot of sauces. Oils, dressing, and marinades with a lot of ingredients are harder to quality control, as they are often bought by the restaurant from a third party or have a lot of preservatives that could be cross-contaminated.
Share Your Concerns and Ask the Staff Questions
Many hosts and serves will now ask if anyone in the party has food allergies, but if they don’t take that precaution, make sure you do. When a staff member doesn’t ask, it doesn’t mean there isn’t contamination.
Ask questions to gauge their knowledge of their food and beverages. Some questions could be: Is there a chance for cross-contamination? What oils or marinades do you use and can you say for certain that a dish does not have this specific ingredient? Does the kitchen cook food separately when they are told there is an allergy?
If they aren’t certain or can’t tell you for sure, don’t feel bad about leaving to find another place. Worrying about what the staff or your loved ones will think if you get up and walk out is not as important as your health and safety. Besides, we would like to think your friends and family would be equally as concerned as you.
Allergen-Free Supplements You Can Feel Good About
If you’re looking for further ways to get good nutrition but have allergies, find supplements that are guaranteed to be free of the Big Nine Allergens.
Our vitamins are non-GMO, vegan, sugar-free, and free of artificial flavors and cross-contamination with the nine most common allergens. We make it EZ to get the nutrition you need with our fast-melting supplements!