Advocating for Yourself when Dining Out with Food Allergies

Dining out with a food allergy can be intimidating, especially after being newly diagnosed. However it does get easier with time. The key is to find your voice and dine with confidence by facilitating conversations with restaurant staff and asking detailed questions for your situation.

Here are our top tips for advocating for yourself with food allergies:
  1. Do your research. Before you go to a restaurant, check their website or social media pages to see if they have any information about their allergy policies. You can also call the restaurant ahead of time to speak to the manager or chef.
  2. Be prepared to explain your allergies. When you talk to the server, be clear and concise about your allergies. Explain what foods you can't eat and why. You should always bring your epinephrine auto-injector with you.
  3. Ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask the server questions about your meal. Find out what ingredients are used in each dish and how the food is prepared. If you're still not sure, ask to speak to the chef.
  4. Be patient. It may take the restaurant a little longer to prepare your food if they need to take special precautions. Be patient and understanding, and they'll be more likely to go the extra mile to make sure your meal is safe.
  5. Trust your gut. If you're not comfortable with the way a restaurant is handling your allergies, don't be afraid to leave. There are plenty of other restaurants out there that will be happy to accommodate you.

Allergy Translation Cards from Equal Eats

Equal Eats is a company that provides allergy translation cards in multiple languages. These cards can be a helpful tool for communicating your allergies to restaurant staff who may not speak English. The cards are available for download on the Equal Eats website.


Equal Eats Allergy Cards

Here are some additional tips for using allergy translation cards:

  • Be sure to have the card translated into the language that the restaurant staff speaks.
  • Show the card to the server when you first order your food.
  • Explain your allergies to the server in your own words as well.
  • Keep the card with you throughout your meal so that you can refer to it if you have any questions.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable dining experience even if you have food allergies.

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:

  • Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE):
  • The National Restaurant Association:
  • The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology:

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