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FAACT’s Restaurant Play at the Allergy Kitchen Café!

It’s Food Allergy Awareness Month and many of us are cooking non-stop in our homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our local and favorite food allergy friendly restaurants may be closed. We might not be comfortable ordering take out at this time, for several reasons. Why not take one of our home mealtimes and turn it into restaurant play? Have fun and explore the topic of dining out with food allergies through role play, in the safety of our own homes.

By pretending we are at a restaurant, our children might begin to express their questions and concerns. We can start to teach our kids how to communicate their food allergy needs while dining out. Because this is done through play, our kids might open up, feeling relaxed and supported. 

Learning how to advocate for yourself at a restaurant is a skill. This takes time and practice. By creating different scenarios through play, we can help our kids become more comfortable and confident in talking about their food allergies with others. Our kids will explore different problem-solving strategies too! They may even surprise us with what they already know! 

Set up:

1.     Make a menu with your allergy-friendly favorite foods.

2.     Set the table like a café or fancy restaurant, be creative!

3.     Dress up in costume for added excitement.

4.     Create different scenarios and act them out. Anything goes, have fun!

Positive Dialogue examples:

  1. Customer with Food Allergies:
    “Hi! I’ve heard so many great things about your restaurant. I would love to eat here. I have a few questions about the menu. I have food allergies. My food allergies are very serious. I’m allergic to eggs and sesame. I could get very sick if I accidently eat any foods containing eggs or sesame, or any foods that have come into contact with eggs or sesame, even sesame oil! May I please speak with the chef or manager about this? Thank you so much.”
  2. Waitstaff:
    “Hi! Do any of our guests have food allergies at this table? We do have an allergy-friendly menu. Would you like to see it? Please tell me what your allergies are, so I can write it down and alert the kitchen. I can also bring the chef to the table to speak with you.”
  3. Chef or Manager:
    “Hi! I’m so glad you asked for me! Our restaurant takes food allergies very seriously. We are trained in food allergy management and cross-contact with allergens. I understand your concerns. Telling us about your food allergies helps us take better care of you. Thank you for speaking up! I will tell you how your food will be safely prepared and handled.” 

On the flip side, we can also role play a scenario about when things don’t go so well at a restaurant. This can happen too! It’s very empowering for our kids to learn important phrases like, “No thank you!” and “I’m not comfortable eating here!” 

Exploring the topic of dining out with food allergies through role play is a great way for our kids to learn about their food allergies and have fun. Visit FAACT’s Dining Out section for more information and education materials.