Tips for Living with the Threat of Anaphylaxis: Food preparation
Preparing family meals or eating out can be somewhat challenging if you have a family member at risk for anaphylaxis because of food allergies. You can make the process more manageable with a few smart strategies.
Limiting the Risk:
The safest approach is to ban the offending food from your house completely. If you choose not to do this, you must be meticulous about preventing cross-contamination.
- storing safe foods separate from risky foods,
- using separate utensils and cutlery to prepare the foods, and
- washing hands and kitchen surfaces thoroughly between preparing safe and risky foods.
It is also best to prepare meals using fresh ingredients that you control rather than using packaged or processed foods where it can be difficult to identify all of the ingredients.
Read the Labels:
Food companies are required to identify common allergens, such as nuts, soy, and wheat, on their product labels. It is important to read these labels every time, even for products that you buy frequently since recipes can change without notice.
Navigating the Restaurant Scene:
Restaurants are also required to notify patrons of possible allergens in their food. If in doubt, always ask the wait staff or a manager about the ingredients. It is also a good idea to call the restaurant in advance to see if they can accommodate your needs. Be sure to impress upon them that not only must the food not contain the offending ingredient, but it also has to be prepared in a way that eliminates the risk of cross-contamination. Be aware that Thai, Indian, and Chinese restaurants often use nuts and nut flours in their dishes.
Asthma and Allergy Associates of Allen can help you or your loved one manage your food allergies by creating an individualized allergy action plan. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.