We all know that home cooked food is the safest option when you have a food intolerance/allergy and to be fair we don’t eat out that much but when we do it just requires a bit of forward planning for Cameron.
Don’t be afraid to ask! Our local pub The Royal Oak in Broadwas is very accommodating – Cameron loves his meat so really enjoys the carvery there and Matt and his staff are great. When we book a table we ask for some vegetables that haven’t been garnished with butter – Cam only tends to eat the peas and carrots so this isn’t usually a problem. Cam chooses his meats, declines the Yorkshire Pudding and takes his veg & gravy – this all adds up to a very happy chap. They will also do a gluten free gravy if asked when booking a table I am told.
I quite often do a bit of research online with different stores, restaurants, pubs, etc when I know we are going out and about – some places are very helpful, others are not. Greggs the high street bakers replied straight away to my allergen request;
“Thanks for getting in touch with us, the only items in our shops which don’t contain dairy are our Gingerbread Man (if chocolate buttons are removed), Yum Yums, Belgian Buns and plain baguettes. I am sorry the range isn’t very wide but we are looking at getting more options and if it would be possible, Customer Care Team”
Not a vast choice but somewhere we can visit when we are out and know exactly what Cam can eat.
If Cameron goes out with his friends into town they tend, like most teenagers, to grab lunch from MacDonalds – with a little bit of homework beforehand we now know what Cam can order safely – he has chicken selects with fries and tomato sauce- all of which MacDonalds confirm are dairy free. He would never order a Fish Finger Happy Meal in a month of Sundays but that too is dairy (and egg) free. The liner you get on your tray with your food and drinks has a detailed allergen list on the reverse which is very handy to double check against. Hamburgers are a pretty safe option too for Cam I have just discovered looking at their website but not for those of you with a milk allergy as there is a small risk of cross contamination with the buns being made in a factory that also handles milk products. We don’t eat at MacDonalds that often but when we do we know that Cam is sorted.
Harvester restaurants have excellent nutritional and allergy information online – the guide is to enable you to make your own decision on menu choice and clearly states which allergens are present in each individual menu item. So with a bit of forward planning in the comfort of your own home you could plan your meal out and we found the staff in their restaurants particularly knowledgeable and willing to help too. We ate out at the Harvester Gowerton near Swansea when we were on holiday last year and found the staff extremely helpful with regards to dairy free choices on the menu suitable for Cam. He choose rice, steak and peas – a strange combination to many I am sure but he was more than happy and with several visits to the salad cart – again we were told what was free from – he left saying how nice it was to eat out just like everyone else and have lots of choice on the menu.
Puddings are a bit of a no no as most do contain dairy so we tend to avoid the sweet menu which is good for my waistline at least! At another restaurant in Swansea we were surprised and pleased to see a dairy free jelly and ice-cream on the menu. The waitress confirmed that it was dairy free and we duly ordered a portion for Cam, it arrived and just as Cam was about to delve in grinning ear to ear I commented to the another waitress how delighted we were to find a dairy free alternative on their menu – she told Cam to stop eating – the dairy free option was just the jelly! So we learnt a lesson there that it is always best to check the allergen menu ourselves and not rely on others – you do have to be so very careful.
For any Coeliac’s eating out in the neck of the woods – I recently visited The Red Lion Inn at Stiffords Bridge, Cradley and was amazed to see that the sandwiches were available on white, brown or gluten free bread – I have never seen this before! Chatting to the landlord Andy, he said that they were also looking to introduce gluten free sausages soon.
So eating out isn’t always an easy option but it is possible with a bit of forward planning – let me know of any places you have found who cater for different allergens and I’ll add them to my list!