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Going out to dinner

I have a son that is allergic to PN/TN, and is almost 4. How do you guys deal with going out to dinner, or weddings, or family events with food? I am deathly afraid of going out to a family dinner, I know most chain restaurants have allergen lists online. How do you do it?

By jtm on Thu, 09-12-13, 02:31

My child is now nine years old he is our youngest my two older children suffered because when he was first diagnosed we stopped going anywhere, but then I decided that it would be okay if we just made sure we had everything. So we went out my child and I and bought a really cool lunch box it was shaped like a dinosaur my child loved it and he could of cared less what we got. I would pack it with all sorts of fun goodies, even making him his own french fries and chicken nuggets. It made everyone happy especially me knowing that my child would be safe. Sometimes we will order a drink off the menu, or at most fast food restraunt they are very nice and give you the happy meal toy.
Just start the lunch box early and your child will never know the difference, always keep and extra snack in the epi pen bag.

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By gmlmom on Sat, 07-20-13, 14:39

Hi Alisha2455,
If you want someone to talk to and ask questions, you can contact me. Just send your direct contact info to allegroann@yahoo.com.

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By concernedmom2 on Sat, 07-20-13, 04:05

My son also has a PN/TN allergy, as well as 4 other food allergies that are nearly impossible to avoid. Honestly, I just pack food for him where ever we go. I also keep his special cupcakes in my freezer so he can eat dessert if we go to a birthday party, cook-out, etc. My child was diagnosed at age 2 after experiencing a bad reaction to PB. Ever since then I've always talked to him about his food allergies and have stressed the importance of not taking someone else's food. Teaching my child about his allergies and safe foods verses non-safe foods has helped alleviate some of my anxiety. It is definitely still there and always will be, but he and I daily talk about food safety. If he stays with family I pack his meals for him or thoroughly read labels and call companies if needed before he eats any of their food. I've also been known to wipe down seats in movie theaters, the circus, basketball games, grocery carts, etc. Living with food allergies can be difficult and frustrating, but eventually it just becomes a routine. We always have an Epi-Pen with us and at age 5, I started teaching him how to use the practice one. He obviously is too small to use the real one by himself, but I want him to be able to take care of himself too. Best of luck to you!

By jordsmom on Sat, 07-20-13, 02:15

My son is 7 next week and was diagnosed with pn/tn and sesame at 18 mos. He is an only child so we eat out quite a bit. It still makes me nervous when we are traveling, but we do it anyway! We ask lots of questions and there are certain foods I always double check, such as breads, pesto, etc. We rarely order dessert, but this is fine since I am nearly always on a diet! To be honest, Jordan is a picky eater, apart from his allergies, and only likes certain very plain foods anyway. At any restaurant near home we know what he can order and has had before.

Eating at other people's homes is a bit more of a problem. If it is someone I don't know too well, I nearly always pack something safe for him to eat in the event the food choices for him are limited. There are certain foods I consider safe even without the label, like hot dogs, most meats, jello, etc. But I will nearly always ask the cook or check the label if those options are available.

We only had an incident in a restaurant once and it was cross contamination and not very severe. We gave him Benadryl right away and it subsided.

Good luck, I think it gets a little easier as they get older and become better self-advocates.

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By gmlmom on Fri, 07-19-13, 19:30

Honestly, you stick to the restaurants you learn to know are the safest possible. You speak openly and honestly to the waiter, manager, chef and explain. Things are so much better now than 10 yrs ago when I was in your situation. Most restaurants want to be helpful. We only go on quiet days, M-Thu. Never a holiday like mothers day etc. Choose times when things in the kitchen will be slow and they can be more focused on your meal. Most will cook your son's meal in a seperate pan helping to prevent cross contamination. You will learn certain types of food you will never be able to go eat, the risk is too great. Whenever I am out in a restaurant without my daughter I look to see if it is a place I might be able to bring her in the future. I ask questions and I have all my research done up front. Italian food tends to be the easiest. Maggiano's is great if you have one near you. They will do anything to make sure you have a safe meal. We are always very grateful and appreciative and I always tip well. It is a lot of extra work for a waiter to accomodate us. Many waiters have asked that I ask for their section the next time we come in. We build relationships with the people and then it becomes personal to them too, not just another person to wait on. It may seem difficult but you will get used to it. My life changed 11 yrs ago and it will never go back to before. I even avoid certain restaurants because should I eat something and kiss my daughter on the cheek she could be hospital bound. It is possible and after a few times of success you will feel more at ease. If you have any questions, just ask. I will try to answer as best as I can so will others. Good luck!

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By alisha2455 on Fri, 07-19-13, 20:31

Wow thank you, I keep telling myself that the longer he has the allergy the more "used to and comfortable" I'll get. :/ Not sure though, I do not let him go on sleepovers at Grandparents houses in fear of something happening, did you experience that at all? Not wanting to give up complete control, I know I always read labels and will double check everything, I know they love him as much as I do but I cannot get past the fear factor.

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By PANeuroticMom on Sun, 07-21-13, 21:48

It is so hard to give up control. My PA 7yr old has only slept at my cousin's house. She and her husband are very aware and understand.. Have read about it and have practiced using the epi trainer. They do have two kids without any food allergies and they have peanut butter in their house. I do not allow my son to go on playdates at other people's houses (without me) because unless you live with a life threatening allergy you just do not "get it". I know I will have to eventually let him go but for the time being we educate, educate, educate and never say no when he wants playdates/sleepovers at our house

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By alisha2455 on Wed, 07-24-13, 13:31

Good to know I'm not the only one!

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