I took my kids to London. Restaurants there were happy to accommodate all their food allergies.

I took my kids to London. Restaurants there were happy to accommodate all their food allergies.
  • Our family traveled to London, apprehensive of how the kids would eat there with food allergies.

  • We were pleasantly surprised by the precautions that London restaurants take — more than in the US.

  • London is an ideal destination for food allergy families, and we can't wait to visit again.

As a parent of kids with food allergies, traveling can be stressful. I worry about what they will eat and whether they will be safe when we are outside the comfort of our home.

We typically avoid restaurants. Relying on staff about allergens can be terrifying, especially when they are misinformed.

Yet, I love to travel and share that passion with them. I wanted to show them that we can have amazing adventures, despite our food allergies.

So I booked our family flights to London and prepared as much as I could.

I quickly realized London restaurants are more accommodating

Armed with EpiPens and a suitcase full of foods free of the top eight allergens, we were off on our first London adventure.

When we arrived at our hotel in London's West End, I quickly scanned the area for grocery stores and discovered that there were none. The kids wanted hot food, so we went on a quest to find a good meal.

We discovered a traditional UK pub nearby. I hoped we could find at least one safe food they could eat. I was surprised as to what happened next.

As soon as we sat down, the waiter greeted us. The first question he asked was, "Do you have any food allergies?" In my experience in the US, servers rarely initiate conversations about food allergies. When we ask, they often respond annoyed.

Delighted that I didn't have to initiate this discussion, I listed their many allergies. He pointed out the separate fryers and work spaces to avoid cross-contamination.

He brought out an iPad with an app that listed the allergens for every item on the menu. We typed in our food allergies, and the app told us the foods my kids could eat.

We were thrilled, and the kids devoured their meals safely and without worry.

Could eating at a London restaurant with food allergies be this easy? It was too good to be true!

I figured this was a fluke, so we went to another place. They took the same precautions, provided me with an allergen menu, and did their due diligence to avoid cross-contamination.

My kids never ate so safely and so well as they did in London

My kids have never eaten so well and safely as they did while on vacation in London. London is an ideal international destination for food allergy families.

Curious as to why we were having such a different experience in London than in the US, I researched.

There are more food allergy regulations in the UK than in the US. In the UK, Natasha's Law protects people with food allergies who rely on ingredient transparency. Restaurants must provide allergen information in writing. There is no US federal regulation requiring allergen disclosure in restaurants.

In the UK, restaurants are required to list 14 common allergens on food labels, while in the US, they list nine. In the UK, servers ask their customers about food allergies, while in the US, the customers ask.

Traveling with kids brings unexpected surprises, sometimes good and sometimes bad. In our case, we unexpectedly ate like royalty. We will visit London again with hungry stomachs and a newly gained sense of safety.

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