When Ella was first diagnosed PA, we didn't go out to eat anywhere for a while. I just couldn't handle the thought of someone else preparing her food, and not being able to read the ingredient lists myself.
But we're getting a little more adventurous, and I've started doing a lot more research. So in case you are in the same boat as us, wondering what's safe and what's not, I'd like to share the fruits of my labour with you.
Remember, this list is just what I've learned so far, as I keep learning every day. But at least it's a starting point if you're new at this whole allergy thing!
- Dairy Queen (peanuts & nuts everywhere!)
- Tim Hortons (bakery environment: high possibility of cross-contamination)
- A&W (most burger sauces have "may contain" warning, and they could easily end up on the surfaces where they prepare other foods)
- Burger King (turns out that many of the foods cooked in the deep fryer "may contain" nuts or peanuts, which makes everything cooked there unsafe)
- Any bakeries (way too much risk of cross-contamination)
- Any ice cream places (hardly any ice cream is safe)
"Sit Down" Restaurants
Tips for Eating Out
- I always wipe Ella's hands & face, then the table & chair, with a baby wipe as soon as we sit down
- Of course, we always always have her emergency kit
- If I haven't been able to read a full ingredient list online beforehand, I have an in-depth conversation with the waitress, who usually checks with the kitchen staff as well
- We always stay away from desserts, even if they appear peanut-free, because they are prepared near other desserts which probably have nuts/peanuts in them
- My biggest tip: do your research!
I hope this has helped! Unfortunately, most of the research I've done has been for fast-food places, but that has more to do with the fact that we're dining out with two toddlers, rather than the peanut allergy.
I just wish more restaurants would publish their allergen information online. It's so much easier than talking to the staff, and I feel much more comfortable if I can read it myself. I have started emailing restaurants to request this info, but it will take a lot more people doing the same thing if we want them to change.
If you know of any other "safe" places, leave a comment!