Restaurant Card

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  • 35 subscribers

Hi all,

Just a question. Is anyone aware of a wallet size card, that can be shown at restaurants, etc, outlining your dietary requirements?

I am a 11 year veteran of cancer of the tongue, who is now suffering from the aftereffects of radiotherapy. Recently, I have had a jaw reconstruction caused by oestioradionecrosis.

As part of my rehabilitation, and for my mental health,  I am trying to get back to some form of restricted normality. Although the majority of my meals were pureed, I am now trying to eat soft food meals.

I am also aware of how restrictive my condition is for my family. Not being able to go out to restaurants or having to scrutinise every menu item, is not fun for anyone.

Also, having a problem with speech, makes it hard to communicate what you would like. It would be really great to have a small card, that highlighted the type of foods you can eat, pureed, soft, etc. Therefore, notifying the restaurants of your requirements.

Is anyone aware of the availability of such card? OR where you can get one from?

  • Hi Pwe559

     As I live in Australia I have no knowledge about cards outlining dietary requirements for restaurants in the U.K. but I understand the issue you are talking about. I had the same issue after my first maxillectomy in 2019 when I could only eat soft to pureed food. I was determined for it not to stop my family eating out, attending family get togethers etc as it was my issue and not theirs and I wanted to be part of all the celebrations.

     Initially I tried looking at the menu online to work out what I could eat before I got to the restaurant but it was always rather limited and usually amounted to a soft dessert. Consequently I started taking my food with me and a Fortisip drink. I would transfer the food into a small white bowl I would take with me so it was not obtrusive. If I wanted something warm I would take soup in a small vacuum flask and pour it into a white mug which I would take with me. In all the time I was doing this I was never once challenged by the staff and if I had been I would have explained to them about the difficulty I had eating. I would always buy a drink so I felt I was part of the occasion. My family and friends understood and I never missed out on any celebrations.

    Now I have had my second maxillectomy this year eating is even more difficult and it is all a bit messy so I no longer eat in public but I can drink with a straw. I take a straw with me and ask for my hot chocolate to be made cooler and then can drink it with the straw. I took a vaccum flask of soup and a Fortisip with me the other day on an outing with the grandkids to the Botanic Gardens and we had a great time.

    It is a matter of doing a bit of problem solving and finding what you can manage to eat when you are out and taking your own to top up, that way you don’t miss out on anything.

    Best of luck




  • Hi Lyn,

    Thank you so much for your heartfelt reply. I appreciate everything that you mentioned and I too have taken my own foods.

    It is exactly as you said, I too want to enjoy family get togethers with my family, etc. My family have been looking into buying a rechargeable stick blender, but have shelved that idea as I can not imagine blending food in a restaurant.

    We are now preparing to go away on holiday, to a resort, and I can foresee issues with eating. I have found some restaurants will help,  if they know what the issue is. However, getting them to understand can be difficult. The card seems like a good idea.

  • Hi I haven’t heard of anything but maybe the swallows charity have something ?

    could be worth getting in touch with them. Failing that a small card made up by yourself and get local library to laminate. I know where you are coming from in my first year of recover I was always hesitant about family gatherings in restaurants.I never had issues with speech so I could convey  my issues across to the staff and often took ensures in my bagjust in case. To be honest I never had issues found once I had explained I had had radiotherapy and chemo to my mouth and throat they were always very understanding. Hope you have a good trip with family, a rechargeable blender may be worth looking into as well.

    best wishes  let us know how you get in.


    Hazel aka RadioactiveRaz 

    My blog is  HPV 16+ tonsil cancer Now 5 years  post treatment. 35 radiotherapy 2 chemo T2N2NM.Happily getting on with living always happy to help  

  • My son is an executive chef of a local chain of restaurants I know he has in the past made special allowances for very specific dietary requirements.  This will not work for the big chain restaurants as they tend to have the food freighted in, but if you can find a good local place why not speak to them before you go and see what they can do for you.  Many chefs will find this a challenge and a pleasure; especially if you can choose a time when they are relatively quiet.

    See my profile for more details of my convoluted journey
  • Hi Pwe559

    Yes holidays can be a challenge. If I can I get accommodation which has a kitchen so I can cook my own food. I take my stick blender and Nutribullet with me. When I can’t get accommodation with a kitchen I take my portable electric hotplate and a saucepan with me along with my stick blender and Nutribullet and cook my own food. I have done this in motel accommodation in the bathroom and it worked out fine. I then take my own food with me to the restaurant. If the restaurant situation is too difficult I eat before I go and then buy a drink there. I have had quite a few lovely holidays since my maxillectomy using this method. It does help if you are driving to your holiday so you can carry required items easily.

    I like the card idea so good luck and hope that works out for you.



  • Making a customised one yourself sounds an excellent choice. 


    Base of tongue cancer. T2N0M0 6 weeks Radiotherapy finished January 2019

    I wrote a blog about my cancer. just click on the link below 

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm

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  • My MacMillan nurse gave some out at our support grou last week. I still have to find out which restaurants participate but even if you show them your card they will accommodate your needs and have more understanding. 
    Hope this helps 


  • Hi Annabel60

    Thank you for your reply. I know the cards must be out there, it's just knowing where to look or obtain one.

    If you have one, I'd really appreciate a photograph of the card, if that is possible?