Dining out when your child
has a food allergy
Your child’s special nutritional needs can mean that eating out requires extra preparation and thought - whether they are going to a friend’s house for dinner, or out to a restaurant. But with a little forward planning, eating out can still be an enjoyable experience.
Some points to keep in mind when your child is eating out:
- Communication is important when organising for your child to stay at their friends - consider discussing your child’s nutritional needs in advance to ensure that their friends’ parents have an opportunity to take this into consideration when planning the meal. If you wish to know more, refer to the talking about special nutritional needs section for further guidance on discussing special nutritional needs
- Eating in a restaurant - when planning to eat out in a restaurant, call the restaurant in advance or go-online to check the menu options. This will help avoid any awkwardness and disruptions during the meal itself
- Eating a buffet meal - eating from a buffet requires extra precautionary measures due to the possibility of cross-contamination. For food allergies in particular, cross-contamination needs to be understood by everyone who is in your group, to ensure they are taking all precautions to stop this from happening. Ensure they understand how cross-contamination can happen with the food your child is allergic to, for example by using the same utensils. If your child has severe allergic reactions to certain foods, you may want to consider ordering a meal from the menu for them rather than eating from the buffet, just to be on the safe side
If you have any concerns, please discuss these with your healthcare professional.