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Eating out with a nut allergy ... any comments will be so much appreciated(8 Posts)
Hello, trying to eat out again with my DS allergic to cashews, pistachios and hazelnuts... any tips on where to go? which places are "safer"? what's good to order/avoid? I know about avoiding Chinese, Thai, Indian etc... been to Macdonalds, thought about going to Pizza Express...does someone have good experiences to share? are any places particularly good?
Been avoiding restaurantes and cafes since found out about allergy, I am so so scared, but read in the brilliant "Letting Go" book from A. Campaign about the importance of teaching a child how to eat out and safely expose them to as many eating situations as possible so to learn/practice how to ask, what to do, where to go etc...teaching to manage risk and look after themselves instead of avoiding everywhere and only eating at home until he/she is 12 and goes out with friends to a cafe and hasn't got a clue about what to do/eat/ask...
I don't know how severe your DS's allergy is, of course, but I've lived with a moderate nut allergy (peanuts and cashews for certain, OK with almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios, never tried anything else) for about 30 years now.
Most chain places are OK, I've found. Pizza Express should be fine. I usually ask if I'm not sure, but you will gradually learn what is and is not safe.
I would also avoid takeaways and home deliveries as it's harder to find out exactly what's in a dish over the phone. I ended up in Casualty in February this way, the first time in almost 15 years.
Japanese restaurants tend to be good for nut avoiders - I know Yo Sushi doesn't let nuts in through the door, for instance.
You do have to "let go" a little. Your DS will have to (and will!) learn to live with his allergy. It's also handy to learn the various different words for peanut, hazelnut etc. in several languages so that you and he can check food packets and ask when abroad. People are a lot more understanding about allergy these days.
My little one is allergic to brazil nuts and eating out was and still is my biggest fear. Eating out is a big part of our lives and I was distraught at the idea that it would not continue to be so, and that it would not be part of his (he is only 4 but he is a boy who loves to lunch!).
However, I have found that it is easier than I initially thought. You just need to be up front and forthright. I have now marched into many a kitchen when I have not been happy with the answer I have received from a waitress, and my fall back position is if I am not happy, then we don't eat. And if we don't have the anapen, we don't eat. The simpler the food the better, if you are out, I have found. Frankie and Benny's have been good, Pizza Express have been good, Wagamamas have been good. And although he is only allergic to brazils, we do avoid all other nuts at the moment, just because he is still young.
I totally agree that your child needs to be prepared for those situations when you are not with him, and my ds is already good at asking if things have nuts in. Although he is only little still, I feel he is being prepared to deal with this himself, as he will need to (although I am totally there to protect him and will be for many years to come). It is a tough one, but my hope is that it will not dictate his life and that he will be able to participate as fully as he will wish in years to come.
Ask for details from the server before you order, and go to the kitchen/manager if the server seems vague.
My 6yo DS is allergic to dairy rather than nuts but I was really interested to read the comments on this thread about eating out...
We basically never eat out because of the allergy - always do self-catering holidays, and if we do want to go to a restaurant we'll take along soy yoghurt and ham or something for him and then order some chips or a plate of plain pasta to go with it. Though part of it is also having a 2yo - I imagine we'll make more effort once the little one is easier to contain!
I'd just be interested in knowing how you manage it, in terms of your attitude and the practicalities. Also we have just moved to Luxembourg from France and I think there is far less allergy awareness than in the UK.
On the odd occasion we have tried, we have had a few nasty experiences - a reaction to aeroplane food, reaction to a soy hot chocolate in a cafe because they didn't rinse the filter properly, reaction to a soy icecream at Haagen Dazs because they sometimes use the same spoon as for other ice cream... in the end we're just too scared to trust other people to take responsibility for it.
I would always phone in advance and be totally upfront and honest. I would try to do this over the phone ahead of time as not to draw attention to SDD as she hated that.
We found Pizza Hut (no desserts though) and Pizza Express to be good. TGI Fridays were exceptionally helpful although her choice was a bit limited, the Chef and Brewer/Harvest type people were always great but of course avoid the salad bar.
I think the secret is be honest with the child (there maybe limited choice etc.) be prepared to take some of your own food as a filler/treat if there is no good options and be very honest with the restaurant ahead of time. If you call ahead and they say no you can choose somewhere else.
Why not sit down with the yellow pages one rainy day and call a load of places to create your own pick list?
Thanks for all your replies, so helpful, it really made me feel braver. Been reading so much about it lately, in Australian sites, American sites etc.... having a list of our own good places is a brilliant idea. Thanks so much to you all, it is so reassuring to share your experiences. Got brilliant reply to an email from Yo sushi (in 10 minutes), and yes seems to be that they do have a nut free kitchen!(no desserts though as they come from a factory) but very reassuring to see that some people take it very seriously and understand exactly why you are asking ... thanks again for all your support and time.
Weta, so sorry to hear about your bad experiences, of course they freak you out ...
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