Eating Out Stresses Me Out!

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I love to eat out. Eating out will never be the same experience, however, unless SG grows out of her food allergies. We still do it, but now jump through hoops to keep her safe. Of course, we gladly do it. But it STRESSES ME OUT!

If you ever see me at a restaurant, I might look CRAZY to you. I feel a little crazy. I immediately cover her high chair with her cover (Yes, she’s 28 months old and I’ll continue to use her cover until she’s old enough to sit in a booster seat. She’s not there yet.) I wipe down the entire table with a baby wipe- sometimes two or three times. I air dry the table with my hand. (I won’t use a napkin from the restaurant. What if someone had dairy/cheesy hands or residue while rolling the silverware in napkins or when dropping off our extra napkins???) I immediately stick the little plastic placement down for SG to eat off of. We ordered a few hundred of them from amazon.com. I wipe down my hands with a wipe again before handling her food- which I bring from home. I carefully set out her little meal before her. I warn her to keep her hands on the table. She’s so sensitive that if there’s cheese caked somewhere on the high chair underneath the cover and she touches it that she’ll break out in hives. I, of course, try to pick the cleanest looking high chair.

Then I sit back and try to maintain some semblance of sanity and not worry if SG is going to be okay and safe. Try. I usually warn the server of her food allergies. No, we’re not cheap! I’d LOVE to order her anything off the menu, actually. I don’t care about the price. However, this is our reality if we want to eat out somewhere. It’s almost not worth it because I stay on high alert while I bug the Huzz and he sits back and relaxes. Doesn’t this all sound relaxing to you???

When my food comes, I feel like I inhale it all without breathing. I want to finish quickly so I can go wash my hands and wipe my mouth and not be contaminated. And if you know me, I’m a SLOW eater. Like super slow.

SG hasn’t yet figured out that when we eat out, she’s eating food from home. She’s too young to know the difference. There is an option for us, though- Chick-fil-A! Our local Chick-fil-A (CFA) knows us and our special orders. Did you know the grilled nuggets are dairy and egg free? And they are grilled on their own special grill? Nothing else is grilled there. Yay! Their french fries are fried in their own space- nothing else is fried there. Yay! Their lemonade is safe and yummy! Yay! (I do wipe the cup down). SG gets to have grilled nuggets, french fries, and lemonade from CFA. I request the food to be “red flagged for a glove change for a food allergy.” My CFA is very accommodating.

We recently ate at a restaurant, just me and SG. I didn’t have her lunch planned (my bad!) so I ordered her CFA to go and she ate it at another restaurant. A cop was dining there and as he passed our table said, “I remember those days with my kids- where they only want french fries and you have to bring it with you.” He said it with a smile. I almost blurted out “My child has food allergies and I have to do this. I wish she could eat anything she wanted from any restaurant!” Instead, I just savored the moment of feeling normal, smiled and said something like, “Yeah, she loves Chick-fil-A.”

After writing all of this down, I’m wondering why we even bother eating out. And sadly, I can tell you. It’s my lack of planning. Even though I have a good collection of safe recipes, I’m hit or miss. I’m either little Holly Homemaker for a week or falling apart at the seams at dinnertime. Sound familiar? Please tell me I’m not the only one. Food allergies or not- meal planning and FOLLOWING THROUGH with the plan takes effort and energy!

Eating out: How do you do it if you have food allergies in your family? Do you cook all the time? Do you venture out as a family? Have you found safe restaurants? Or do you avoid them like the plague? I feel a little better now after telling the world why I look and act like I do in restaurants. It’s not because I want to- it’s because it’s a small price to pay to keep my precious child safe.

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8 thoughts on “Eating Out Stresses Me Out!

  1. Oh my goodness, you just described exactly what we do at restaurants with my 2 yr old daughter who’s anaphylactic to dairy and has other allergies. We don’t eat out anymore at all, except when we’re traveling and don’t have a choice. Even then, I cook at home, freeze it, and bring individual servings of food we can heat up to bring. You are not crazy, or maybe I am too! 🙂 It’s so stressful! We don’t have CFA where I live (I’m dying to try it if I ever see one!), but McD’s chicken nuggets and fries are dairy-free so that’s where we stop if we’re on a road trip.

    In response to your question about meals and planning…I don’t plan lunches (I’m too lazy I guess) so my kids usually get frozen chicken nuggets, hot dogs or coconut milk yogurt. Like you, I try to make a weekly meal plan, but struggle at times. I’m not on of those women who loves cooking, but I sure have learned a lot and gained some confidence in the kitchen now that we manage food allergies. I have my 2 favorite allergy cookbooks (Sophie-Safe and Whole Foods Allergy) and Pinterest for an almost endless supply of recipes.

    I just discovered your blog today when I saw the link on Milk Allergy Mom’s FB page and was really encouraged by your honest sharing of fears, and the scripture that can help bring peace about it. I sat crying reading about your struggle with infertility because that subject is close to my heart. God made us wait longer than we wanted start our family, and I have many friends who are going/have gone through the pain of that struggle. I will be praying for you and your family as you try for #2.

    • Thanks Molly! I appreciate the comments. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one out there that feels this way. 🙂 I know food allergy parents understand. Since I wrote this post , I’ve really been trying to cook more at home. So far I’ve done pretty good… Quite a feat for me. 🙂

      I really struggle with lunches. I’m working on a post about lunch ideas. I want to share the few things we have and hopefully get lots of ideas from others. I’ll have to check into those books. Thanks for letting me know about them!

      Thank you for your prayers! Did you read this post about our decision for #2?
      https://blessedlittlefamily.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/be-at-rest-once-more/

      Infertility really stinks. But I’m glad to share our story so other women suffering know they are not alone and there is hope.

      I appreciate your comments! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy my little blog.

      • I hadn’t read that post, so thank you for sharing it. It’s awesome that you’ve been able to find peace and truly rest in God’s sovereignty and plan for your life, though I’m sure it’s still a daily intentional decision and struggle. I know He will honor you for leaving it in His hands. I’m not trying to be trite and say that now you’ll get exactly what you want, but I do believe He honors our growing faithfulness and trust in Him.

        It is such a blessing just to sit back and watch our child play happily and think back to how we felt before they arrived. It’s too easy sometimes to take it for granted or get caught up in the busyness or challenges of parenting, and miss those sweet moments or just enjoy the beauty of looking into their precious face.

      • You’re right- it’s a daily intentional decision and sometimes still a struggle. That was the perfect way to word it. When I feel the longing, I recite the verse in my mind and feel much better. I have much to be thankful for and don’t want to miss what is right in front of me.

  2. You are not crazy…or we all are! I feel the same and I am another holly homemaker one minute and a total mess the next. My lack of planning, go to, is tyson nuggets and alexia sweet potato tots. I will flip if there not in my freezer

  3. Yes! You nailed it! Well said, for sure! I, too, inhale my food….but that might be because I’m trying to feed our 15 month old-haha! I totally can sympathize with the “lack of planning” and not being a Holly Homemaker 100% of the time. I also wonder why we bother eating out. I also want to check with our Chick-Fil-A to see about the grilled nuggets!

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