Monday, March 25, 2013

Eating Out

Other than an occasional drive-thru lunch during the week, we don't eat out very much.  We do eat out every Sunday after church with friends, but other than that, you probably won't find us filling up a booth anywhere during the week.

Eating out with food allergies can be tricky.  Some restaurants will give "allergy information", which basically just means they'll list the allergens found in their foods, but it's usually only the Top 8 (wheat, dairy, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and eggs).  This can be very helpful if you are allergic to dairy.  Or if you're avoiding gluten, for example.  But Rapunzel is allergic to things that are not in the Top 8.  So in order for her to eat at a restaurant, I have to be able to look up actual ingredient lists.  I've called restaurants before to try and find out what ingredients are in certain dishes, and some places have been accommodating, but at most places it is difficult to get a straight answer.

There are a handful of places that Rapunzel can eat at (but only certain things on the menu) - Chick-Fil-A, Subway, Jason's Deli, and Pizza Hut are a few.

Most of the time on Sundays, I will pack a lunch for Rapunzel to take into the restaurant we eat at, so that she has something safe to eat.  Or sometimes we will run by Subway on our way to the restaurant, to get her a sandwich she can eat (She gets Italian bread with bacon, pickles, and mayo - yuck! But she loves it!).  I haven't had a problem yet taking our own food into a restaurant.  We tend to go to family-friendly, laid back places because we usually go with a few other families, and there's always a ton of kids.   I've explained on my own a couple of times that she has her own food because she has food allergies, but I've never even had anyone say anything to me before.

Most of the time, it doesn't bother Rapunzel that she's eating different food than everyone else.  She knows that when she eats the things she's allergic to, she doesn't feel good.  So she's usually happy to eat her leftover pizza or hot dog or sandwich.

I also keep some Mio in my allergy bag so that I can flavor Rapunzel's water.  She can't have most fountain drinks because they contain corn syrup.  There are a few she can have, like Sierra Mist Natural, and Jason's Deli has a blueberry pomegranite drink that is sweetened with cane sugar).  At home, all the kids drink milk or juice for breakfast and then water the rest of the day.  So it's nice for her to be able to have a "fun drink" like her friends when we eat out.

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