As a rule, eating out is better avoided by food allergy sufferers though an increasing number of restaurants do have ingredient statements and allergen declarations. Despite that, cross contamination can make dining out hazardous. However, there are times when we want to give our children a small treat or need options when traveling. So, I have short-listed a couple of national chains where there are a few choices apart from juice and soda. Even before I enter a restaurant, I look up their website and minutely go through their ‘Nutritional Information’ pages. Burger King (www.bk.com) was the first place my son had the joyous experience of sitting down like other kids and enjoying a meal. Yayy for BK! Though the options are limited, even that is more than what they can get elsewhere:
1) French Fries: Burger King Fries don’t have wheat in them. Oh yes – fries are not just potatoes! Most often they have wheat and a million other chemicals added to them to enhance flavor and texture. So, check the ingredient listing very carefully. BK is also one of the few places where the fries are fried separately.
2) Tendergrill chicken: Even a piece of grilled chicken is never just chicken. Soy protein is a common lurker in many chicken dishes. Thankfully, soy flour is not used in BK’s grilled chicken which goes under the name ‘tendergrill’. It is really tender and delicious – just ask my son J
3) Apple Fries: Plain old slices of apple with a preservative. However the caramel dipping sauce that comes with it is an absolute no-no!
Couple of things to keep in mind before dining out are:
1) Keep in mind that restaurants change their recipes without notice so look up their website every time or you can even ask for it at the counter in many places. The latest BK ingredient statement can be accessed at: (http://www.bk.com/)
2) Always check the food before consuming it. I found an Onion Ring (contans wheat) once in the BK Fries!
3) A reader brought up a very good point – ingredient statements are different in different places (especially different countries) even within the same company. Thanks Karen 🙂
Happy and Safe Dining Out!
10 thoughts on “Burger King – here we come…”
Often with fast food chains the Canadian and American web sites have different allergyn statements..
Thanks Karen – that was a very useful pointer. Have added it to the post!
The tender grills that you mention have both caramel color and maltodextrin. It does not specify whether it is wheat or corn maltodextrin so those with very sensitive allergies like my daughter can not eat BK tender chicken and be top 8 free.
Thank you for excellent input. My son can have some derivatives of wheat (maltodextrin), milk (lactic acid) and soy (soybean oil, soy lecithin). However, ingredient listing should be carefully looked into. Here is something useful I found on wikipedia, ‘Maltodextrin can be enzymatically derived from any starch. In the US, this starch is usually corn; in Europe, it is commonly wheat. While wheat-derived maltodextrin may cause concern for celiacs that it may contain gluten, maltodextrin is such a highly processed ingredient that the protein is removed, rendering it gluten free. If wheat is used to make maltodextrin, it will appear on the label. Even so, the maltodextrin will be gluten free.’
Caramel color is ‘made by the controlled heat treatment of carbohydrates like maize’ (Wikipedia).
Since so many chemicals are used in regular foods to improve shelf life, flavor, texture etc. – very close attention must be paid to the source of long list of chemicals used in almost all food products.
My DS loves BK fries! He also safely eats Wendy’s fries, despite the website’s caution about frying other foods in the same oil. I think that’s a YMMV thing, different in different Wendy’s locations. At our Wendy’s only the fries are fried in the frier, so they’re safe. I will have to check into the tendergrill and see if he can have those, too. Thanks for the tip!
For more food allergy information visit the Illinois Food Allergy Education Association at http://www.illinoisfaea.org.
Putting an onion ring in the fries is actually a BK signature! It’s something that they are supposed to do with every order (though they have, thankfully, been cutting back on it) so I suggest that you always ask that there are no onion rings included in your pack of fries.
Wow – I did not know that. Thanks Lorien 🙂
I have had my son on a wheat & dairy free diet for only 3 weeks, no sign of hives until today after eating bk fries, so are you saying it wasn’t the fries that caused the break out? help!