How can I avoid foods I'm allergic to?

To avoid foods you're allergic to, it is important to pay close attention to food labels as it can often be surprising where you might find the particular food you are allergic to. For instance, if you are allergic to peanuts, by looking at various processed food labels you would find that peanut oil may be a common ingredient. If presented with a food that you have not prepared yourself, ask if it contains the particular food you are allergic to.

Avoiding foods you're allergic to is not an easy task, especially when eating prepared or restaurant food. The most common food allergens are milk, egg, peanut, wheat, soy, shellfish, fish and tree nuts. Following are tips for avoiding foods that you're allergic to:
  • At a restaurant ask your server about ingredients in menu items, but if he or she doesn't seem certain, ask to speak to the kitchen staff about the presence or absence or specific food allergens in the dishes you want to order.
  • Ask your healthcare provider for the various names of different forms of the food that you should avoid.
  • Read food ingredient labels closely to check for the presence of your trigger food substances. They are often found in places you wouldn't suspect.
Beware of the hidden sources of your food allergens:
  • unlabeled ingredients in processed food
  • milk toppings on specialty drinks or bar drinks that can contain eggs
  • deli slicers used for both meat and cheese products
  • ethnic dishes that use peanuts and peanut oil
  • foods prepared without nuts contaminated by dishes using nuts
  • nutrition bars containing nuts or seeds
  • cakes or pies with hidden nuts in the crusts, batter or frosting

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.