February 25, 2011

Fast Food? Not so Fast...

Not such a Happy Meal when your kids have food allergies.    flickr/circler

We are guilty of getting fast food while traveling--whenever humanly possible.  But actually, with three food allergic children, it's not often possible.  In fact, did you know you can actually buy the Happy Meal toy without actually buying the Happy Meal?  Has alleviated much kicking and screaming in the past.  But I digress...

You'd be surprised (or not) that fast food contains tons of hidden allergens, while guessing at the ingredients can be near impossible.  McDonald's French Fries, for example, contain dairy (what?), but Burger King's french toast sticks aren't made with dairy or egg (which leads us to many more questions...but we're not gonna go there).

In the past few years, more fast food chains have been publishing their ingredients online--incredibly useful, especially for traveling.  (Just please be cautious about cross-contamination!)  Check out these links for ingredients at your favorite fast food chains:

A & W
FYI--here is their disclaimer: "The allergen information displayed on this site are based on our standard product formulations.  Variations may occur due to differences in suppliers, ingredient substitutions, recipe revisions, and/or product production at the restaurant."

Burger King (includes allergen statement)

Carl's Jr (at-a-glance allergen table)

Chipotle* (at-a-glance allergen table and more details about which of their ingredients may be cross-contaminated)

*Chipotle is currently offering a rare Buy One, Get One Free coupon if you watch a 90-second ad for the new NBC reality series, America's Next Great Restaurant.  It's easy -- you don't even need to give your email address or have a Facebook account!


Taco Bell (they use so much shredded cheese that I would be pretty nervous about cross-contamination for my dairy allergic child--please use caution!)

Wendy's (includes allergen statement)

They do not publish their ingredients but I personally love them, not only because they use fresh ingredients, but also because they will, upon request and availability, use a "dedicated grill" for my dairy and egg allergic children (they use egg in their sauce and cheese in their cheeseburgers)--now that's service!
If you'd like to contact IN-N-OUT  about publishing their ingredients, please do!  I have.  :)

Now, armed with these lists (plus seven suitcases, 4 carry-ons, 3 bags filled with safe on-the-go snacks, a double stroller, pak n play, a blankie, set of pots and pans, plates, and utensils, some rice pasta for the first night's dinner, two cartons of soy milk, 12 cd's, an ipad, and your allergy meds and epipen) you're off!  Have a fabulous vacay!  (You deserve it!)

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