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This is awful. I hate it! My dd is supposed to go to a play with my SIL and I feel like a royal pain for insisting to send a sandwich for her to eat at the restaurant. As it is having her eat in a gluten filled restaurant is stressing me out, but the idea of her eating food prepared there was too much for me to handle. Dh is being okay, but I feel like everyone thinks I am overkill whether they say it or not. I am sure I am making the right decision, but it is so difficult always having to be the "spaz". How do you deal with restaurants?
Call ahead to the restaurant and ask about their gluten free options. (Try to call during 'off' hours when they aren't so busy). I allow my daughter to eat some items after I've carefully questioned how they are prepared and made sure that the person I'm speaking with is knowledgeable about food.
If you feel comfortable, ask who will be the manager during that time. Write a note for SIL to give to the server. The note should include information (very brief) about Celiac and what your child wants to eat.
The last note I sent was to Red Lobster , it said something like:
My daughter has Celiac Disease which is an auto-immune disorder. She cannot have any gluten (wheat, barley, rye and oats). Ingesting even trace amounts will cause serious illness and reaction. Please let the cook/chef know about her allergies. Please order for her:
Shirley Temple to drink
Broiled fish (no seasonings)
Baked potato with butter and sour cream
Salad with oil and vinegar dressing (please prepare fresh with no croutons)
If there are any questions, I can be contacted on my cell phone (name and number).
If you do decide to send something, you should double check that they are okay with food brought in. Some restaurants are not okay with outside food brought in. Call and explain that your child has significant reactions to ingredients in food items and that your doctor is trying to sort it out. Until it's sorted out, she's needing to follow a strict diet.
People (relatives) roll their eyes at me all the time (well, they did at first, but then they realized that I'm looking after my kids and they relaxed). I did lose my temper and write a letter to Dear Abby once...lol. Mostly I try to kill with kindness and rise above it. If the restaurant does a good job with her food, write a nice note about the server and manager and send it to their corporate office. I now host all holiday dinners at my house. I try to send great looking lunches/snacks for my daughter that others are envious of (that way they don't look at her with that 'poor thing having to eat such bland food' look). If applicable, I volunteer to provide snacks for her soccer team, etc.
When others look at me like I'm nuts....'fake it til you make it'. I determine rules in advance and I stay polite, friendly and firm. They'll come around.
I hate restaurants. We were at Burger King last night and the one close to our Walmart is REALLY good with allergies. They have ingredient lists for everything that are available to look at and have several people with Celiac's that come in on a regular basis because they are so good with allergies. The people with celiacs eat french fries, a tendergrill chicken breast with lettuce and tomato and they bring their own bread. They have not had problem so far but they only let people that have been trained to make their food make it. All the managers are trained and the fill in managers are trained incase the manager is out. Other than that I will usually bring his food with us. His meals are always pretty bland because there isn't much that he can have that he actually likes. There are a range of things that he "can" eat but very few that he actually will eat. I got the looks for a while from the in-laws but they understand now...all except one nightmare of a woman...and my family has been good from day 1.
I agree with checking with them early. I honestly haven't had any really bad experiences with restaurants and the boys. I just explain their allergies, give some concise directions, and tip well when its followed. The note is a great idea. You could even tell SIL that the note is to help her; not because you don't trust her etc.