Dining Out Tips for the Allergic Teen

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Hello, my name is Samantha and I am 13 years old. I’m allergic to peanuts, mustard, and kiwi. I enjoy dining out and my favourite type of restaurant is Italian. Luckily I have never had an allergic reaction at a restaurant, but have learned a lot from a few bad experiences. Here are some tips I have learned along the way that have helped me stay safe.
  • If you have multiple allergies, it may be a good idea to visit a restaurant where a chef can make certain substitutions. One of the disadvantages of fast-food restaurants is that they have standardized food that often cannot be altered upon request.
  • If you are going to a new restaurant, make sure to call ahead to see if they can make a safe meal for you.
  • When you get there make sure to explain your allergies clearly and remind them of cross contamination. You may want to double check for specific items that you are ordering. For me, I make it clear that mustard is a spice and ask whether it is in certain sauces, dressings or seasonings.
  • It’s a good idea to speak to the chef or manager just to make sure that they can accommodate your allergies. They are likely used to having allergic guests and should be able to inform you of what is safe and what isn’t.
  • If you know a restaurant is safe for you, keep going back there but remember to double check what you’re ordering every time as ingredients and recipes may change. If you and your friends are going out for dinner, try to suggest somewhere that you know is okay for you.
The last time I was out for dinner was over Christmas break. I was going to a restaurant that I had never been to before. It was Italian food, but I still made sure to call ahead. They said that they could make a special meal for me, but they had a feeling I could have their regular pizza. When I got there I made sure to explain my allergies really well and ended up with a really tasty pizza. I went away happy and plan to go back there!
Wherever you choose to dine out, be sure to call ahead, explain your allergies to the waitress/chef/manger, ask what is safe to eat, and enjoy a delicious meal! As always – remember to bring your auto-injector!
Bon appetite!
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