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Summer is simply the best time to explore local areas, enjoy long weekends and take road  trips.  I did some homework in the spirit of “the family road trip” and came up with some interesting options/applications using our beloved smart phones and iPads!  I wanted to see what gifts the digital age has brought to my little food allergy world as we traveled.  Do websites and applications exist out there that could help my road trips?  Or was there just digital clutter waiting to stealing my time?

Italian women and a laptop

photo courtesy of Rogerwendell.com (I swear I’m probably related to one of these ladies)

First off, I downloaded some chef cards from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network‘s interactive PDF chef card page.  I feel that I am off to a good start with chef cards for visiting restaurants.  I next choose the old fashion route of wracking my brain for possibly safe chain restaurants that I could hunt down while on the road.  Falling back on old favorites such as Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, Romano’s Macaroni Grill and www.foodallergiestogo.com I visited their websites for possible locations.  Then I checked out www.foodallergiestogo.com, which is basically one family’s list of restaurants of food allergy friendly restaurants.  It was quite homespun and very specific to their family’s allergens, but nevertheless  interesting.

driving on 395 south

My three top Mobile Food Allergen Applications

Next up, I sought out iPad or Droid applications for my mobile devices that would help us find safe food on the road.  Apparently there were several and here are the three that I have tested out and I liked enough to share..

allergy caddy food allergy application

Allergy Caddy-this app was pretty darn interesting!

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  • I downloaded this to my iPad as I did not see an Android version.
  • Based on 10 allergens, this app provided details about popular restaurant menu items (allergens included: peanut, milk, egg, wheat, soy, gluten, fish, shellfish, tree nuts and msg-unfortunately-no sesame seed).
  • Users choose which allergens apply and then simply search from a list of restaurant chains.
  • Menu categories are displayed and then users click on the category, such as appetizers and the next list to appear will indicate if the item contains your chosen allergen.
  • Allergy Caddy pulls their information directly from restaurant sites and offers links to these sites so users can review in more detail or call the restaurant.
  • The site will display the date information was published and the ability to share any new information you may stumble upon.
  • My $1.99 investment was well spent.

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hold the allergen food allergy app

Hold the Allergen-this app came in handy a few times on my last trip to Southern California

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  • This app is currently only available for the Android (yay me).
  • Based on 9 allergens; egg, fish, gluten, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy (which can be broken down into soy lecithin, and soybean oil), tree nuts and wheat, users are guided through many fast food restaurant menus by categories.
  • Each menu item’s ingredient list can be reviewed along with a message stating if the food contains your chosen allergen and if you can or can’t have it!
  • The app is fresh out of the shoot, so new restaurants are constantly being added.
  • I liked that I had immediate access to a list of all the ingredients in a menu item.  This had added value for my type of food allergy management.
  • This was app was free…one of my favorite words.

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allergy-eats-logo

Allergy Eats-I love that this application can used online–sitting at my desktop!!!

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  • The online website for Allergy Eats offers a wealth of knowledge–dining out tips, links to some of my favorite sites, such as Allergy Eats, etc.
  • Based on the following 10 allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, wheat, gluten, fish, shell fish, sesame and soy, users again choose their allergens and then a location (either by address or town).
  • Lists of restaurants are offered along with a rating system informing users of distance to restaurant, allergy friendliness and other restaurant data (allergen statements, etc).
  • The site is bright and well organized and they even specifically have a search focused on Disney related resorts and parks!
  • I really appreciated being able to read comments from my fellow food allergy customers.
  • My fingers are a bit fat on the smart phone keyboard, so I preferred to use the desktop online version.
  • This app was free–yet again, my favorite word being used.

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In conclusion, yes there are worthy food allergy digital solutions out there!

If you have a favorite food allergy app that you think is worthy…please share!

Have a fabulous weekend and I hope you enjoy some nice summer weather-Caroline

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