Nuts, gluten, dairy products, shellfish … Anyone with any type of food allergy naturally needs to take some precautions on a daily basis. And this is no different when traveling abroad to make an exchange. In this case, these precautions must be maintained or even redoubled. If you are part of this group or know someone who does, check out these food tips for allergy sufferers abroad.
One of the most common concerns among allergy sufferers who decide to exchange is with what to pack. After arriving in the country of destination, it is also very common to experience a certain apprehension when deciding what to eat there and also where to eat. What to do in these cases? Find out in the text!
What can’t be missing in the suitcase?
One of the worst things you can do, if you are allergic to something, is to stop worrying about it only when you are in your destination country. The ideal is to already carry in your bag some fundamental items that can help you avoid any problem or solve it if something happens.
If you do not speak the language of your destination country, make a card that explains your allergy in the native language (AND WALK WITH THIS CARD EVERYWHERE). You can also download a translation application, such as Google Translate, to do the same when explaining your situation to waiters or supermarket assistants, for example.
Another important tip is to carry in your luggage some items that you already know are safe and that are already part of your eating routine. From protein bars to other types of dry products, like nuts and chestnuts, the most important thing is to check if the food you intend to pack can be taken to its destination. If all goes well, this is a great ” food backup ” option until you get used to your new environment.
What about eating out?
Trying out new foods in good restaurants is an important (and delicious!) Part of the exchange. And nobody wants your allergies to disturb this experience, especially you! So, here are some things to keep in mind when eating at restaurants abroad:
Read the menus carefully: In most major cities, the menu contains information about allergens. This can be described with words, symbols or asterisks; so be careful and pay attention! Also, use different translation apps, which can help you understand the menu a little better. But keep in mind that, while they are useful, they may not be 100% accurate.
Ask the waiter: You are probably used to doing this at home, so don’t let your habits change in a foreign country. Waiters often say if an item contains your allergen or if they can recommend other things for you. Avoid eating anything that you or the waiter are unsure about. It may happen that the waiter is not very confident when explaining the ingredients of the dish. In that case, don’t trust them, just as you wouldn’t if you were in Brazil.
Safe options for people with food allergies
With something as serious as a food allergy, it is essential to have some safe options that you can always turn to. Here are some great ideas to get you started:
Go to restaurant chains: This may seem obvious, but if you don’t know where to eat, finding a family-friendly place, like McDonald’s or Subway, can be a lifesaver for the first few days of the exchange. But please, don’t make this your routine diet.
Choose to make your own food: The only way to know with 100% certainty what the ingredients of your food are is if you make it yourself. So whenever possible, try to prepare your meals at home. In addition to being safer, you can be sure that you will still save a lot from it.
Inform your friends of your condition: In case you consume something that causes an allergic reaction, make sure that the people you will live with during your exchange know what to do. They must know where you keep your medicines; which number to call and anything else you think is necessary in an emergency.
Food for allergy sufferers abroad is a subject that must be taken very seriously, but at the same time you cannot fail to experience all the incredible flavors and culinary experiences of your exchange destination. So try to throw yourself into this new world, but with responsibility.