Thursday, April 9, 2009

New mom primer for dairy elimination 102- Eating out

So now your kitchen is stocked, but you have a lunch date with your best friend tomorrow. Where and what can you eat?

I suppose I should start with a disclaimer. Don't take my word for everything. I would never purposefully point you toward a dish with hidden dairy, but ingredients at restaurants have been known to change from time to time and today's dairy free hamburger bun could be tomorrow's epi-pen experience, should a supplier/recipe change. Double check me. I am providing links (when I can) for a reason!

My first advice is to inform the waitress you have an allergy. Some restaurants have an allergy chart that a manager will bring to your table. Regardless, the waitress needs to know so that she can inform the cooks.

I will start with standards for almost any restaurant. Out on a fancy date? The restaurant you picked does not have an allergy menu? Order a nice steak! Be very explicit that you want no butter on the steak. Sides can be tricky. You safest bet is a vegetable/potato with no butter, but that isn't exactly delicious. You can resolve this by either BYOfB(fake butter) or asking for a cup of salsa/ketchup/dairy free vinaigrette or vinegar and oil. If you are getting a potato be sure you request that the potato was not baked with butter in the foil.

A little lower in price would be a plain hamburger or plain chicken breast with no bun. Same options for sides. I would love to tell you that fries are usually safe, but I can't. Between seasoning salt and weird flavor enhancers and preservatives your best bet is to probably avoid them unless the restaurant brings you the bag they came in and you can read the ingredients label. There is also the issue of cross-contamination if a restaurant fries cheese and fries in the same fryer. Whether or not this bothers you would depend on how allergic your child is.

Lets move onto specifics... I am not listing every last thing that is dairy free, and as I said previously please double check for yourself! Below please find a short list of chain restaurants that provide allergy info online.

McDonald's- Hamburger (with bun), Apple Dippers (no sauce), Chicken Selects, side salad, balsamic vinaigrette. Note: fries have dairy!

Burger King
- Whopper (no mayo for you egg folks!), Chicken fries, normal fries, onion rings, BBQ sauce, French toast sticks, syrup, hash browns.

Taco Bell- Spicy Chx soft taco, hard or soft shell w/ no cheese, cinnamon twists.

Culvers- Chicken Strips, Fries, Sweet and Sour Sauce, lemon ice.

Subway- Quite a bit. White and Wheat are both dairy free. Almost all plain meats are good. No cheese of course.

Papa Johns- Original crust pizza with veggies, pepperoni, and bacon.

Panera Bread- Smoked Turkey Breast Sandwich on Country, Low-fat Veg Black Bean, Low-fat Garden Veg Soup.

Chilis- Honey BBQ Ribs, Black beans, veggies with no butter. We go to Chilis a lot because they seem to have an awareness of food allergies that a lot of other restaurants don't. YMMV of course.

A good rule of thumb is when in doubt, don't eat it. Don't assume.

I will be honest, eating out dairy free is not always the most delicious experience in the world. Your table mates will likely not copy your order. However, even if it is something you only do rarely it is a good skill to have in your toolbox.

If you have any favorites I have missed post them!

1 comment:

  1. I was just thinking I needed to review what I can eat out. Too bad on the McD's fries! I remember when they admitted to the dairy when Rebecca was still nursing (toward the end for us).