Rushden dietitian talks eating out with allergies as she shares more of her knowledge on how to eat well in lockdown

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After working in the NHS for many years, Dr Mabel Blades now has her own business and helps people with their diet

An expert on diet and nutrition is talking about eating out with allergies as she shares more of her knowledge on how to eat well during lockdown.

Dr Mabel Blades of Rushden is a registered dietitian and nutritionist with a PhD in diet and diabetes.

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She has her own business, Nutrition and Dietetic Services, after working in the NHS for many years and now does consultancy as well as writing books.

Dr Blades, who is also a governor at Kettering General Hospital, is going to share her knowledge with the Northants Telegraph in the coming weeks.

The aim is to help us make good use of the food in our cupboards and offer advice on getting a balanced diet despite the restrictions of Covid-19.

This week she is focusing on eating out with allergies, which is timely following the Government's 'Eat Out To Help Out' initiative which ran during August and many restaurants have extended into September.

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Dr Blades told the Northants Telegraph: "According to Allergy UK, a staggering 44 per cent of British adults now suffer from at least one allergy.

Eggs are one of 14 allergensEggs are one of 14 allergens
Eggs are one of 14 allergens

"Obviously this does not just include food allergies but also those to other items like pollen, latex etc.

"For those with food allergies it is very challenging and with more people wanting to eat out after lockdown it is really important to do this safely.

"For some with an allergy consuming the item they are allergic to can result in an anaphylactic shock and sadly even death if not treated immediately.

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"Restaurants and food businesses are required by law to tell customers if their food contains ingredients known to trigger allergies.

"There are 14 allergens in foods which have to be declared and people will have these seen on labels and information on menus.

"It should be remembered that some individuals have allergies to more unusual foods and I remember one young man with an allergy to mangoes.

"Other people have an allergy to more than one item such as someone who called me and who cannot have gluten or eggs.

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"She complained that the restaurant did not understand this even though she had pre-ordered and it had spoilt her celebration meal out."

Here are some tips from Dr Blades if you are eating out and have allergies:

- Firstly contact the restaurant and inform them of the allergy and check that they can provide suitable food. If you think they do not understand ask to speak to the manager

- When you arrive double check the table is clean with no food debris around

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- Double check the content of the dishes as sometimes last minute substitutions can be made, for example flour can be used to thicken a white sauce or gravy rather than corn flour which is gluten-free

- Check there are no unwanted garnishes on dishes

- Observe if tongs or spoons are being used to serve all dishes as they can be a source of contamination

- You can ask to peep in the kitchen as if there is food remains on work surfaces and no clear working areas contamination is more likely

- If you have been prescribed an Epipen ensure it is in date and carry it with you and those who are with you are aware of it

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- Do not overdo the alcohol as even if you are not allergic to the ingredients in it as alcohol can make other symptoms worse

Further information on eating out and food allergies is available on the Food Standards Agency website.

To read Dr Blades' last piece for the Northants Telegraph on healthy snacks for children, click hereAnd if you have a question relating to food, nutrition and eating well during lockdown, email your question to [email protected] and we will put it to Dr Blades.

You can also follow her on Twitter @blades_mabel

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