Valentine’s Day is approaching and many people are already making reservations for a night in the town. For people with food allergies, this may present a problem. Eating certain menu items could trigger their allergies, putting a serious wrench in their romantic Valentine’s Day dinner.
The following guides will help people with allergies enjoy their dinner dates without fear of reactions:
- Be prepared – Do your homework before your date. Know where offending food proteins could be hiding. Many restaurants post their menus online, allowing you to examine food choices and ingredients in advance.
- Carry your medications – An epinephrine injection is the first line of defense in the event of an allergic reaction. Always have your EpiPen handy, especially when dining out.
- Bring a food allergy card – Complete a card listing the extent of your food allergies. You can hand it to the waiter when you place your order. The waiter can give the card to the chefs who can then help you avoid any possible allergy triggers.
- Pick the right restaurant – Try calling the restaurant in advance to make sure they can accommodate allergy-free requests.
- Dine early – Plan to arrive at the restaurant early to beat the crowds. That way, the chefs and kitchen staff will have time to work with your food requests.
- Ask for the manager – When you first enter the restaurant, talk to the manager and explain your condition. He or she can be your liaison with the chef.
- Be assertive but friendly – Be courteous. Courteous people get better results than overbearing or demanding ones.
- Be cautious with dessert and drinks – Desserts and drinks can present a minefield of allergens. Desserts can be heavy on egg whites and dairy that trigger allergies. Fancy drinks may have had exposure to ice scoops or mixing receptacles that could be cross-contaminated from the last drink.
There’s no need to scrap your holiday dining on account of food allergies. Use care and advanced preparation to safeguard yourself from health risks—then enjoy!
If food allergies are consistently interfering with your quality of life, consider food allergy treatment using sublingual immunotherapy. Talk to your physician for more details.