Avoiding Food Allergies Outside your Home

by Judy DiMaggio - Certified Holistic Health Coach

Eating out with food allergies can be an enjoyable experience or it can be a nightmare. It’s important to keep your quality of life and also avoid food allergies when out in the world. Here are some tips for avoiding food allergies in different situations outside your own home.

You have food allergies and have been invited to dinner?  Now what?

If you are invited to someone’s home and you know that person, talk to them about your allergy issues.  If your food allergies are severe,  make sure your host knows what you are allergic to and about cross contamination.   Sometimes, you may have to bring your own food.  I have.

You may also encounter resistance to your issues.  Once at a home of a relative, the host was having a large family party and knew I had food issues.  The only thing I could find to eat was vegetable salad and fruit salad.   Luckily, I encountered another family member whose two children have celiac.  She brings food for them and cooks it there.   I remembered that there was a health food store about a mile away so I went there and bought some food for myself.  At the end of the party, the relative asked me if I found anything I could eat.  I said a little and let it go at that.  But I never went back. 

You have food allergies and have been invited to dinner?  Now what?

If you are invited to a restaurant, whether it’s a date, with friends or an event such as a wedding, talk to the person who invited you.  You may have to speak with the manager or the chef.   Always call ahead, don’t wait until you get there.

Here is a link for chef cards that you can type in your allergies, print out and give to the chef.  


As you will see, these cards come in many languages and are free to download.

From the same site, you can also purchase “My Teal Ticket” My Teal Ticket is a pad of  restaurant order forms that help people with food allergies have a safe and enjoyable dining experience. The teal color stands out from all of the other restaurant order tickets, which will make it easier for the chef as he or she prepares your meal.   Here is the link:

http://store.foodallergy.org.   Search for Teal Tickets.

To check out or find a restaurant which handles food allergies by location, go to:


When eating at a restaurant, you’ll need to have a conversation about cross-contact with one of the restaurant employees – different foods cannot be prepared on the same equipment, or in the same pot, pan or frying oil.  Even though food allergies are commonly understood, the term cross-contact is fairly new. You may know the term and how to safely prepare an allergen-free meal, but this term is still not universally used in the food service industry. The commonly used term is cross-contamination. Foodservice employees are trained to prevent foods from being contaminated by biological contaminates. Once you know the difference it will be easier to discuss this at the restaurant.

Eating On A Plane

You must contact your airline and let them know ahead of time about your or your child’s food allergy.  Once on the plane, speak to the flight attendants to be sure they were alerted.  Be prepared, sometimes these requests are overlooked.  If there’s any doubt, don’t eat the meal.  If possible, eat before you fly.  If it’s a long flight, buy some healthy food in the airport after you get through security.

If you have severe reactions to any food you eat, always carry your epi-pen

FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) is a great resource for food allergies.  Their site is foodallergy.org


Dr. Millie Lytle