Even a little bit that you swallow or inhale could cause an allergic reaction. You know to avoid the obvious foods, such as almond butter, cookies with walnuts baked in, or oatmeal studded with pistachios.
But other trigger foods, including sauces and gravies, are more surprising.
Having a food allergy used to mean dining out was limited to carrying your plate from the kitchen to the porch or, at best, eating at the home of a close friend or relative who could guarantee your food offenders were nowhere in sight.
Today, however, eating out is a lot easier -- and safer -- for the 2 million Americans who suffer with a mild, moderate, or even a severe food allergy. One reason: Restaurants are more aware and more prepared.
"The awareness of food allergies has definitely increased...
You need to know what to look for, so you can check before you buy or use a product.
Not Just Peanuts
Peanuts and tree nuts aren’t the same. But if you’re allergic to one, you may also need to avoid the other. Ask your doctor to be sure.
Tree nuts include:
Check These Foods for Nuts
You may find peanuts or tree nuts in things like these:
Baked goods. Cookies, candy, pastries, pie crusts, and others
Candy.Chocolate candy especially; also nougat and marzipan
Other sweets. Ice cream, frozen desserts, puddings, and hot chocolate
Cereals and granola
Chili and soups. Peanuts or peanut butter are sometimes used as thickeners.
International foods. Nuts are common ingredients in African and Asian cooking (especially Thai and Indian); also in Mexican and Mediterranean foods.
Mortadella. This Italian ham may include pistachios.
Sauces. These may include barbeque sauce, hot sauce, pesto, gravy, mole sauce, glazes, or marinades.
Salads and salad dressing
Avoid These Items
Nix them when you cook, and look for them on food labels:
Nut butters. Almond, cashew, peanut, and others
Nut pastes. Includes products like marzipan, almond paste, and nougat
Nut oils. Includes cold-pressed or expressed peanut oil, and others
Hydrolyzed plant or vegetable protein. These can have peanuts in them.
Nut extracts, like almond extract
4 Tips to Avoid Nuts
1. Ask your server. Foods that don't contain peanuts or tree nuts can get contaminated if they’re made in the same place or with the same equipment. It can also happen in restaurants that use lots of ingredients, and even in ice cream parlors if scoops or other equipment are shared.