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This is partially a rant, but I am also looking for suggestions!
For the most part, we don't eat out.
Before our last round of allergy testing, we were avoiding dairy, peanuts, and tree nuts.
We knew for example that we couldn't have McDonalds fries (they have dairy) or Wendy's fries (shared fryer), but Burger King was ok (although we did occasionally find onion rings in our fries and the onion rings are not safe!). The burgers and buns were safe. Also, subway bread and a number of meats were safe, plus I could watch them and make sure they used fresh gloves, cleaned the knife, etc.
We don't eat fast food regularly, but there are times like if I take my car to Sears for any work, I could spend time walking the mall with the kids and eat at the mall. Sometimes you don't expect it to take 4 hours for your car. I can't drop it off and come back as I don't have a way to transport the kids without my car. And sometimes you aren't even expecting to have to take your car in. Sometimes if you have scheduled obligations and things like unexpected snowy road conditions mean that you don't have time to go home and make dinner or even sandwiches but you can pick up fast food and bring it with you. When we visit my family, they rarely offer us food, and even if they did, it may or may not be safe. Usually we bring stuff for our first meal there and cook it at my parents house. Usually it is lunch and I bring a box of pasta, some veggies and some fruit, and supplement with food from my mom's freezer. The last 2 times it was chicken patties (that won't work now because we have to add soy to the list). Then we visit people in the afternoon. Then pickup Burger King for dinner. We have the fruit throughout the day. But then if we are there for the next day we have to either got to a sit-down restaurant, or fast food for lunch and/or dinner. The hotel we stay at has a continental breakfast. dd1 loves the waffles and sometimes a bagel. I don't dare give them to dd2. So she has some boxed cereal with no milk and fruit if they have something she wants.
If we went to a sit down restaurant I would either contact them first to get a safe list (like Red Robin), talk to the manager (Friendly's) or similar. We only ate out a couple of times like that. It was really stressful and the safe items were very few. So normally we don't eat out or we do Burger King or Subway.
We like to spend the day at the Children's museum and eat lunch there. There choices are Taco Bell, Subway, Pizza Hut, Bill Gray's, and an ice cream/snack bar type place. I would let dd1 get what she wanted usually a pizza, and dd2 and I would split a sub.
So we managed. It wasn't great, but doable.
So then we find out dd2 is allergic to soy.
Burger King burgers are no longer safe and who knows what kind of oil they fry the fries in - probably soybean oil.
Subway is also no longer safe. The breads have soybean oil as does even the turkey meat.
I've looked at some of the lists from the restaurants (like Red Robin). There is almost nothing left.
I've looked at the websites for BK, McD's, Subway, and Wendy's. All of them have a few hit and miss items that are probably safe. But either they are things I have no interest in, or I would have to stop at 2-3 places to make a meal. I don't see how we can spend the day at the Children's Museum anymore since there isn't anything safe to eat for lunch (or dinner, sometimes we do afternoon/evening instead of morning/afternoon).
So, we haven't been to the Children's Museum in a few months. I practically starved myself last time we visited my family and dd2 lived off of snacks and fruit. We did make lunch at my mom's (with the chicken patties that did not say they contained soy, but probably contained soybean oil hidden as "vegetable oil"). We were late because of road conditions to my dd1's class, so I went home (in 10 minutes), and dd1 had cereal and milk for dinner while I made a sandwich to take with us for dd2 and I skipped dinner altogether. Sure would have been nice to pick up BK or something and not been so rushed and late for the class anyways because we really did not have time to drive home! One of the other mom's there was also running late because of the weather. She said, that they just went to Wendy's. Must be nice! We can't go anywhere.
Wednesday, I had an activity at dd2's school - no siblings. So dd1 went to my SIL's house. When she was begging me for a cheeseburger, I actually couldn't tell her no. I got her one and let her take it to SIL's house even though she already ate dinner at home. This way she could have it when dd2 was not around her to see her eat it and be tortured because she couldn't have something too. But of course dd2 was in the car when I went through the drive-thru. So she was throwing a fit that she wanted a hamburger. She is so smart, at 2, she knows she can't have a cheeseburger because she is allergic to dairy so she asked for a hamburger! But I couldn't get her one.
Yes, I do ALWAYS bring safe snacks with us when we go places. But snacks don't cut it for a meal. I supposed I could pack a cooler and leave it in the car when we go to the Children's Museum. I can't carry it around the museum, so I would have to leave it in the car. Then I would have to bundle my kids up in coats and everything just to go get the cooler when it was time to eat. Not fun. I can't see doing that. And I know part of the fun for them was the fact that they were getting to eat out.
What do I do if we unexpectedly have to be out over lunch or dinner time? If it is unexpected, then I obviously wouldn't have packed sandwiches or anything. Do I feed dd1 and make dd2 just watch and starve? Do I make my kids both starve because of one child's allergies? How can I still give my kids that fun treat of going out with mommy when things just aren't safe anymore? When we went to Friendly's it was such a great bonding time. Now I can't do that with them anymore?
What can I feed my kids when we are out of town or on vacation, or traveling through an airport, on the go where I can't bring lunch and dinner with us?
Isn't there any fast food and other restaurants that are safe for dairy, soy, tree nut and peanut allergic people? Are we relegated to either starve or eat at home?
laura, dh Brian, ds Rory 14, dd Ellie 13, ds Caelan 11, ds Seamus 9, ds Finn 7 and Penelope 2 !!!!
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