Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Eating Out When Dairy Free

It wasn't until I started to realise how many products have dairy in when I thought how tricky eating out would be. I love my food, eating out is my favourite thing to do and I wasn't going to let my allergy get in the way of the happiness food gives me! I knew it would take a matter of time, trying out a few restaurants and pubs was the only way to find out which ones offered the best dairy free menu and options.

I have worked as a waitress for 4 years so I have always been confident in asking my waitress/waiter what I am be able to eat. Often their answer was always ‘let me ask the chef’, often or not I had the choice out of a burger or a salad. Normally it’s a matter of having the pasta you fancy but tailoring it to suit your needs.
        For example, if you are dairy free you will probably notice another pasta sauce on the menu that is dairy free but it is with chicken and maybe your vegetarian too? Therefore you could ask for the dairy free sauce but without the chicken, or without the creamy potatoes on the side and replace them with a salad. You get my idea, don’t be afraid to ask and tailor your meal, remember you are paying for the service and restaurants are used to having to cater for all types of allergies.

Sometimes I get a bit embarrassed especially when I’m out with a group of people and you are always known as the ‘picky one’, it’s just something you have to get used to and don’t let others judge you. 

Here are a few tips for any dairy-free 'Newbies' when eating out:

  • Before you go always check out the menus online, often restaurants have allergy menus separately
  • Don't always be put off a dish that does contain milk, it might be it only has milk in it because the prawns are cooked in butter. Therefore ask for prawns to be cooked in oil instead!
  • When booking mention your allergy so they are aware you are coming. This way they can ensure they have all the information you might need for when you arrive.
  • When checking in, reconfirm that you have dietary concerns with your server

  • Be an advocate for yourself – This should be an enjoyable experience and you have the right to enjoy your meal and not get sick! With that said, I am cautious and my gut instinct is 9/10 right

  • Restaurants always have people with allergies, don't be afraid to ask any questions

Take away's : 
If your anything like me sometimes you don't want to cook or go out but you also really would like some yummy, maybe naughty, food which always calls for ordering a take away.

From personal experience I have found that Thai and Chinese cuisine hardly ever use any dairy at all. However do ask if you are still unsure. Indian cuisine gives you a bit of a less choice as some curries do contain milk or cream however there are quite a few that don't contain dairy and most Indian sides are also freefrom dairy.

Next weeks post will include what fast food restaurants have dairy free options!

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