While I do love cooking at home, we also love to eat out. Finding a good place to eat out can be super hard on the Feingold Diet. If you are relatively new to Feingold, I would strongly suggest that you try to limit your eating out to almost not at all. But once you are well past that 6 week mark and are well prepared to judge a reaction, you should be able to spread your wings a little. Below are a few restaurants that work for us. Your family may or may not be able to tolerate these, so please do not take this post as any kind of approval for these places. Some of them are listed in the restaurant guide, some are not. We have strategically tested each of these (even if they were in the guide) over the past few months and have found we were able to handle them.
First off before going to a restaurant, it’s a good idea to have in mind what kind of things to look out for. Bread is always touchy because if they don’t make it from scratch, it probably has a preservative in it to make it last longer for them. I almost always avoid bread at a restaurant. If you can get your food without seasoning, do it. You can always add salt anyway. Steak doesn’t need all kinds of seasoning on it to taste great, a plain steak, medium rare, with salt is the best thing ever. Remember your veggies. A side of plain broccoli, plain green beans, plain corn (if you can do it) is a wonderful thing. If your dish involves butter, ask if it’s real butter they use. If not, leave it off. Next time you can even bring your own to add if you are so inclined. We often bring our own ketchup to places that we need it as we cannot do ketchup with corn syrup in it. Remember cheese. Most white cheeses are approved. Of course not all of them are, but I will often take a chance on something made with white cheese without asking about it and just see if we react. 9 times out of 10 we do not. If you are wary of doing this, look in the book. There is a description of the only ingredients a white cheese should have in it, you can ask them to check their labels.
Okay so those are the things we look for. Here are some of the places we have successfully done. Remember this DOES NOT mean these places are approved for you. You must try them in your own family, and never try these until you have been doing the diet with no reaction for at the minimum 6 weeks. You have to be able to judge a reaction before you venture into this.
As I am sure most of you do, we have a lot of pizza places nearby. We have tried many of them, and found one that had a good combination of flavor we like and makes everything from scratch. We made sure they made their own dough to try and avoid any preservatives there. We get our pizza with no sauce (my son can’t do tomatoes and hubby can’t do paprika which is often in tomatoe sauce) and we have them put unmarinated chicken and broccoli on it. We have to special order it that way as their pizza chicken is usually marinated. At first they gave us a hard time, but now they are so used to our order they all know exactly what to do (yes we order pizza a lot). Since we can’t do corn, I made sure their cheese had no corn starch in it. They shred all their own cheese and use a combo of white cheeses. We made sure to test this for the first time when we were not reacting to anything so we could tell if we had a reaction to the cheese. None of us did, so now it’s one of our family favorites.
This is in the Restaurant Guide and we have had good success here. My family doesn’t do corn syrup, so we normally get their fries, but will use our own ketchup. If we are eating there, we just bring it with us. The buns also have corn syrup in them, so we don’t eat those. We will get a double hamburger with no cheese or condiments and just eat the patty dipped in ketchup. We cannot do soda either, so we always just ask for a large ice tap water. I do believe they have Sprite as well if you are able to handle that. Hubby can handle corn syrup and some stage 2 items, so he will get double hamburgers with onions and pickles and then add his own ketchup (though I guess he could use theirs, but he doesn’t).
Five Guys Burger & Fries
My son LOVES this place. They are also in the approved restaurant guide, though their buns are not listed as approved, so we avoid them. We will get a large fry and you can actually tell them you have an allergy and just order a patty with no condiments or bun. They will wrap just the patty in foil for you. We always bring our own ketchup and we also get tap water here. I do believe they have Sprite as well. Since the bread is not listed in the food guide at all, hubby doesn’t eat it here so he doesn’t get anything extra on the patties. They taste great plain dipped in ketchup though!
This is another Restaurant Guide place. No matter which sub we get, we always get the regular white italian sub roll. I often get the tuna with some onion or lettuce and American Cheese. Since I can do tomatoe, I sometimes will get the meatball sub too. My son will get the plain chicken strips with American cheese and have it toasted. He does not put any veggies or condiments on it. Hubby will also get the chicken strips with cheese toasted, but he will often add pickles and olives since he can do stage 2.
This is not in the restaurant guide, but it has always been one of my favorites so we had to try it out once we were ready. So far we have kept it really simple and just stuck with meals made with alfredo sauce. Hubby and I can do tomatoe, but I don’t eat tomatoe dishes there anyway. Some day hubby might try a tomatoe dish, but so far we are all happy with the alfredo. When we go, we always tell the waitress straight off that we have allergies, so no salad or bread. I am not sure if the oil they use for the salad dressing is approved, and I am sure they do not make their own bread, so we avoid it for now. My son will order the kids fettuccine alfredo with chicken. We just make sure to indicate that it must be unmarinated chicken. Hubby and I order the steak gorgonzola alfredo. We ask them to not put the demi-glaze on the steak as I am not sure what is in there and I also ask them to leave off the sun dried tomatoes since I am not sure of the oil they were in. We have had great success by ordering this way. We only get tap water here, but they also have Sprite I believe.
This is the most controversial restaurant we go to. I wasn’t going to put this here, but in the interest of full disclosure I am. We have had luck at Taco Bell by ordering just their plain taco (soft for my son and I, hard for hubby). My son and I have sour cream added, hubby will add both the sour cream and tomatoe. That’s it. We do not order anything else there. Since the meat is rather mysterious, we made sure to try this restaurant when we were clearly not reacting and waited a few days to see if anything happened. Luckily we did not react to it at all. I would not get anything else from here though and you should absolutely be very careful when trying this restaurant. Be prepared for a reaction and if you are lucky like us and can handle it, be prepared for other Feingolders to tell you how bad it is. We get tap water to drink, and they have Sprite if you can do soda.
I think that’s it for now. We will probably continue to try restaurants, keeping our rules of thumb in mind. Have you tried any other restaurants that have worked for your family? Promise I won’t judge if you share, even if they do seem rather nefarious like Taco Bell!