It seems like everyone has some sort of allergy or food intolerance these days. It’s not a bad thing—it’s just a reality. Classrooms don’t allow peanuts, gluten allergies are more and more common, and it seems like the number of people who are lactose intolerant is greater than the number of people who aren’t! It is a little scary, but it looks like it won’t be changing anytime soon.
How Restaurants Are Accommodating Food Allergies
Restaurants are slowly catching up (usually in bigger cities), and it seems like most establishments are attempting to accommodate allergies and intolerances. I love it when I get to a restaurant where they even state it on the menu—how thoughtful of them! People with food issues just want to be normal, and hate the hassle it can create to ask for special orders. Food in grocery stores are the same way now, as you probably know. The gluten-free sections are amazing and the selections have grown. Some food items that have always been gluten or dairy free are now being labeled (when they previously were not) just because it makes it easier to know if it’s safe for those of us who have allergies.
My Families Experience with Food Allergies
My son has a dairy intolerance and it has been difficult for my family, but we have found little tricks that have made life so much easier. In the beginning, we did not go out to eat at all because it was difficult and created unwanted attention for my son. But, I didn’t want him to miss out on fun things in life, like going out to eat with friends or with us, so we’re trying to learn how to make it work for all of us—slowly, but surely.
Tips for Dining Out When You Child Has Food Allergies
One easy tip is to call ahead of time. I remember my son was going with his class on a field trip that included a stop at an ice-cream bar. I called the place ahead of time to make sure they had something for him without dairy. I’m so glad I called because they did not. I talked to the owner of the store and explained the situation. She was very sweet about it and let me bring some coconut ice cream that they could serve him, so he was still part of the event.
Before dining out, remember that it’s easy to call ahead of time. You can also check online to see if the restaurant lists the ingredients on their website. Checking beforehand might save your child of being embarrassed when you have to ask the waitress in front of other people (because most everything a parent does can sometimes embarrass your child, right?!).
Tips for Traveling
Bring some of your own food with you. When we travel, I always bring plenty of food for my son. At least bare essentials like almond or rice milk, and coconut butter since they often don’t have that at hotels and it can be hard to find if you’re in an unfamiliar place. Or, search ahead of time for local grocery stores that will have what you need. I also make some Pizza rolls or pigs in a blanket because they keep for days and they fill up my son. Healthy snacks that are safe for him to eat are great too just to fill the gaps in case we run out of options. Be prepared!