Food Allergies, Anxiety and Ordering Food
Fear of judgement or messing up can make us not want to bring up our allergies, but it’s extremely important that we do.
Guest post by Teen Advisory Group (TAG) member Amelia Elliott
Being a teenager with a food allergy can be challenging, because as you grow more independent from your parents and start going places/traveling without them, you need to make sure your voice is heard. As someone with anxiety, it can be very stressful to ask every server, restaurant owner, etc., if anything you’re ordering contains your allergen, because you don’t want people to find you annoying, a bother or a pain. But really, no one is thinking that at all. You’re looking out for yourself, and that’s probably the most important thing you can do, so you should never feel bad about it. The staff at restaurants want you to have the best experience possible, and telling them about your allergy makes it easier for them to do that.
It can also be scary ordering because you don’t want to mess up or forget to mention your allergen. Something that helps me with all of that is to type in my notes app exactly what I want to say. I write my order and what I want to say about my allergy. Then I have exactly what I want to tell them, and I feel prepared. Doing things like this may seem over the top to some, but for people with anxiety like me, it can be extremely helpful.
One helpful aid to talking in person about your allergy can be a chef card. The chef card reinforces what you say about your allergy and can help some people feel more confident that they’ve communicated clearly about their allergy.
Overall, I know how hard anxiety can be when ordering and having an allergy, and I can guarantee many people feel the same way. It can be a fear of judgement or messing up that can make us not even want to bring up our allergies at all. However, it’s so extremely important that you talk about your allergy, especially in restaurants, to make sure you’re as safe as possible. You just need to find things that help you manage and make it easier to speak up about your allergy. I want you to know you’re not the only one who feels like this, and I hope this blog post was helpful!