Megan Lavin has become an advocate for eating out with allergies. Yet, she knows well that even the idea of trying restaurant meals can be daunting for many food allergy families.
Her family of six includes two sons with food allergies, so dining at a restaurant definitely requires advance work. In this video, Megan explains her process, and why the effort is worth it.
First, dining out is enjoyable, a social occasion away from home, and a chance to have a tasty restaurant meal. Megan, who founded the website AllergyAwesomeness.com, is known for her allergy-friendly recipes and love of cooking. But even an accomplished home chef needs a break!
For a treat or a special family occasion, it’s fun for her whole family to have a restaurant experience. But with eating out with allergies, there is work involved.
In the video, Megan explains her process, providing details on:
• Checking out restaurant menus on the internet ahead of time.
• Scanning online recommendations from other food allergy families, to get an advance sense of places that will accommodate.
• Calling to speak to a manager to ensure a restaurant can accommodate eating out with allergies. (You don’t want a negative response after arrival!)
• She includes a list of restaurant chains that have been accommodating of her kids’ multiple food allergies. (Always check for the specific allergies you’re managing.)
• Megan covers how she orders with servers, and when it’s wise to request the manager.
• Why she believes ordering in person is important for safety. And that one time she did not – her eldest son did have a reaction.
• Megan notes the importance of allergy-specific questions, such as: Is there a dedicated fryer for French fries?
Kids Learn: Eating Out with Allergies
Restaurant dining can be a great social experience, but Megan is also modeling behavior for her sons. When they’re older and off to college, they will be eating out with allergies – and doing all the ordering.
In the video, Megan relates that, as she speaks to servers and managers, young eyes are watching, absorbing, and learning.
For instance, she is showing her children: how to communicate and be firm about allergies, and why she often asks for the manager. They’ll see her ask the staff: “Did I miss anything, is there anything I need to know with that order?” (She asks this since they know the kitchen’s protocols.)
The boys get to see how she emphasizes their orders are for those with “severe” food allergies. “I stress this word because I want the restaurant to understand that not getting this order right would have serious health repercussions.”
“Eating out is fun, it’s social and it’s a skill I want my kids to have for when they get older,” says Megan. We hope you enjoy and learn from this seasoned allergy mom’s helpful guidance.
See Also: Allergic Living’s Step-by-Step Guide to Dining Out
Megan’s Minute Series
Join Allergic Living monthly for a new installment of Megan’s Minute with Megan Lavin, the creator of the Allergy Awesomeness blog, which features great Top-8 free recipes and articles. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
More videos from Megan Lavin:
Safe Way to Keep Allergens in the Home
Creating a School 504 Plan
How to Plan Meals with Food Allergies
Hosting and Attending Gatherings with Allergies
Going to Birthday Parties
View the full video series on the Allergic Living YouTube Channel here.