Teens in the Real World
  Food Allergies in the Real World  

Careful and Safe

by Margot, age 14. Allergic to peanuts and tree nuts.

Eating out at a restaurant can be very challenging when you have a food allergy to worry about, but there are some things that I do to be free from those worries. First, I read the menu very carefully. Second, I talk to the server. Third, I don’t eat anything if I’m not sure about it.

I read the menu carefully to look for things I can’t eat. The entrée usually has a little description underneath, so I read it for anything that looks suspicious. I also look for salads that might have nuts on them, and I don’t order those, either. Desserts can be very tricky, so I usually avoid them altogether. I have to read the menu very carefully and thoroughly to make sure that what I think I want to order is safe to eat.

After finding something that looks safe from the menu, I tell the server about my food allergy and ask them about the dish that I was thinking about ordering. If they don’t know right off, they sometimes go back and talk to the cook to double-check what the food has in it. If both the chef and the server say that the dish does not contain my allergen, I go ahead and order it. Talking to the waiter is a good way to let them know about your allergy so they can help you with ordering.

If the chef doesn’t know or isn’t sure about the dish, I don’t order it. One of my main rules of eating out is, if you don’t know what is in the food and someone can’t tell you, don’t eat it. It doesn’t matter how much you would have liked to eat that dish; if you don’t know what is in it, you would be risking your life. One has to be very careful when eating out at a restaurant!
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