Dating is a great way to get to know someone and share a wonderful experience with them.
Whether on a first date to find new love or to spend time with your loved one, dating can be filled with butterflies and a few nerves!
And what all dates have in common is that, at some point, you (and your date) will want to eat or drink, especially if you're going on a romantic dinner or a picnic. (If you're going on a "non-food centred dates, then it's likely your date has already had a bite or a drink prior).
So if you have food allergies and you're going on a date, the date may become less about the experience and more about trying to avoid a reaction.
But not to worry! If you have food allergies and are going on a date, below are 6 Tips for Food Allergies and Dating for a safer and happier experience-
1. Share Your Food Allergy Before the Date
Tell your date about your food allergies before the date. We know, especially on a first date, it may seem like something you want to share with them later. But ensuring they know ahead of time is a great conversation topic, and it will be less awkward when you're ordering food for the first time.
Remember to also tell them what happens if you have an allergic reaction and what emergency medication you use.
(Dating Insight: Their response to when you tell them you have food allergies will also give you a good understanding of their nature and character)
2. Contact an Allergy-Friendly Venue Beforehand
If eating out, find a venue (restaurant, cafe, etc) that you can safely eat at, so you can safely dine on your date. You can call, email or send them a message on social media beforehand to see if they can cater to your allergies. Looking for allergy-friendly venues across Australia? Visit Friendly Food and Drink Venues.
When ordering your meals ensure the venue is aware of your allergies (your allergies should be written on the order docket or show your Allergy Card such as a My Allergy Card to the kitchen). Request with the venue that both your meal/drinks and your dates are free from your allergens.
*It is important that both meals and drinks have an allergen warning to the chef/venue when ordering.
(Dating Insight: It's more embarrassing to have a reaction on a date than to have a conversation beforehand with the venue).
3. Ask Your Date to Avoid the Allergens
Ask your date to avoid eating or drinking anything that contains your allergens while on your date and for at least 4 hours before your date.
Even if you've checked with the venue, it's important that your date avoids allergens before and during the date. (For instance, you can have an allergic reaction from kissing or sharing utensils).
Why 4 hours? This advice is based on a study*, that showed the best way to remove peanut residue from saliva in the mouth is to wait at least 4 hours after eating a peanut, then consume a peanut free meal. And before you ask .... you can still have an allergic reaction if your date has brushed their teeth.
*This research was only conducted with peanuts and no other allergen, as this is the only study done. (J Allergy Clin Immunol . 2006 Sep;118(3):719-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2006.05.017.)
Allergy Life Australia uses these findings as a guide for other food-related allergens until another study is conducted.
4. Be Prepared (even if you've taken all precautions)
Always carry your emergency medication, such as your EpiPen or Anapen, on the date.
Also, carry with you a visual allergy alert, such as an Allergy Card, Medical Alert Bracelet or Necklace, so it's easy to communicate in the case of an emergency. Check if you're eligible for a free My Allergy Card.
5. Choose a Non-Food Centred Date Experience
If you have food allergies, it's completely okay to want to avoid having a food-centred date.
Some typical and fun non-food-centred dates include:
- Going to the movies
- Going for a trip to the zoo or aquarium
- Visiting museums
- Doing an escape room
- Going to an art gallery/installation
- Taking an art class
- Going Dancing
- Going for a short road trip
Just to list a few! We're sure there are more great ones out there!
Still, be mindful of all the drinks and snacks that may be consumed while on the date, and tell your date not to eat your allergen for at least 4 hours before the date.
6. Receive a Gift Without a Twist
You don't have to be too forward with your date, but you can drop a hint that if you were to receive a gift (especially if it's an anniversary or Valentine's Day) for them to make sure that are your allergens are not present. This is especially if they were considering getting you a food-related gift such as chocolates or a food hamper.
And if they ask, what can they get instead? Tell them what non-food gifts you prefer, such as jewellery, an experience, a soft toy, a mug, etc.
(Dating Insight: If you have other non-food related allergies such as nickel or pollen allergies, let your date know about these too, so they can avoid gifts that may cause a reaction.)
Final Word- Don't worry about any negative reactions from telling your date about your allergies before and on your date. It shows a lot about their nature and character if they are interested to know more about your allergy and follow the steps to keep you safe. And if they're not interested, well, now you'll know.
These are some tips for Dating with Food Allergies. We hope you enjoy a safe and happy date. Don't shy away from using your allergy as a talking point. It's part of who you are, and if they hope to be part of your life, this will only allow them to get to know you better.
The information provided on Allergy Life Australia is to generally educate and inform you about living with allergies, intolerances and conditions, and is not intended as medical instruction or as a substitute for diagnosis, examination and advice by a qualified health care provider.