Having food intolerances can be a real nightmare when it comes to social events: pizza, tacos and peri-peri chicken can be lethal weapons when used against the intolerants. However, dealing with it by staying trapped at home isn't a solution. With the right strategy, you'll be able to enjoy dinner with the squad without getting poisoned. Bye bye, FOMO!

1. Be Prepared to Get Sick

coffee, tea, blueberry
Hana Brannigan

There's no nice way to put it: you have high chances of getting sick. Whether it's in the form of flatulence or something more serious — such as an anaphylactic shock — you must be ready to get through it.

What To Do: Pack some snacks. By now, you probably have your go-to snacks that you feel sure about. I rely on rice crackers but it can be literally anything — as long as it can be carried in a bag and eaten anywhere. 

#SpoonTip: Carry extra underwear and/or safety pads. If the food you ate contained a substantial amount of the allergen you are sensible to, you will probably need a little back up to save the night.

2. Know Where to Go

If you're going out with people you know well, there's no problem in asking your friends to re-route your trip to go to a place where you can eat. However, things are trickier when it comes to business dinners or other social events in which you don't have a say.

What To Do: Talk to the staff and the chefs. Most restaurants won't have any problem in modifying a dish according to your problems. Don't be shy or afraid ask multiple times if necessary. Even though you might feel rude in doing so, both you and the staff will be reassured.

Remember that several restaurants offer an allergen menu with already modified dishes and indications of allergens (thanks Zizzi's, Wagamama and even Spoons). The menu does not automatically come to the table, so you'll need to ask for it.

Samiel Tom

#SpoonTip: If you're lactose intolerant, look for vegan places where you can hang out with your friends! They'll be able to experiment with something new and you'll be able to eat everything you want to.

3. Fritters Before Sisters

sandwich, bread, lettuce, tomato, cheese, ham, bacon
Jocelyn Hsu

I know it sounds hard to say — after all, we've never let anything come before sisters. However, after the first time you have the heartbreaking experience of finding nothing you are able to eat, "fritters before sisters" will become your life motto. It's okay to bail on or have to alter plans because you can't eat any of the food — remember that it's not your fault!

What To Do: If you're unsure of where you are going to eat, do a favour to yourself and eat something before going out. Hanger is a real state of being and is neither pleasant for you nor for your friends! Try to prepare something light — in case you can eat with your friends —  yet still substantial enough to keep you going all night long if need be.

4. Choose your own destiny

juice, cocktail, alcohol, ice, wine, beverage, lemon
Victoria Pierce

Sometimes even the thought of going out can be tiring. You need to abandon your pyjamas, get out in the cold, check every single ingredient of what you're going to order... but at the same time, you don't want to miss out on a good time with your friends. 

What To Do: Invite your friends over! No one will ever say no to a cosy night in with food and booze. Plus, you'll have the opportunity to cook something for everyone that is suitable for you as well! It's cheap, fun and safe for your tummy.

Moral of the story

wine, cocktail, alcohol
Tarika Narain

While it seems hard  — particularly at the beginning — eating out with your friends, I can assure you that hope is not lost. Even though it's impossible to get rid of every risk of cross-contamination, with a little bit of luck and some co-operation between you and the restaurant, the chances of getting poised become really low.

Of course, you can still opt to cook for everyone and have a cosy night in. However, everyone has lazy days: you should never let your intolerances hinder you from being spoiled.

Now go into the world and experiment with food!