Surviving Food Technology when you have a Food Allergy
We can all agree starting high school is super nerve-racking. Meeting new people, having a number of different classes a day, and everyone just seem so BIG. But above all that, there is probably one subject that is worrying you most. Read more
Yep, you guessed it – food tech.
Despite your worries, it is important for you to learn to cook and understand how food works. For people living with food allergy a home-cooked meal is one of the most comforting things. But as you get older, and start to move out of home, the responsibility of cooking dinner will fall to you. Food tech can help you with this. If the right strategies are in place you can have a lot of fun too!
First things first – make an appointment with your food tech teacher for you and your parents to talk. Do this before the beginning of the school year, to allow time for the school to implement manageable changes. During this meeting you should tell them what food allergies you have and ask the teacher about the curriculum and menu for the term(s). Talking through the classes ahead of you with your parents and teacher will help to identify high risk foods, and enable you to suggest alternative options.
Now that you’ve spoken to your teacher, what are some things you can to help reduce risk in the kitchen:
- Bring in your own set of cooking equipment and utensils. Store them in a separate sealed container, clearly marked with your name.
- Request to work at a station away from students who may be cooking with your food allergen. Take a friend with you so that you’re not alone.
- Only eat the food that you have prepared and cooked. You might even decide to wait until you get home to eat leftover food.
- Last one, and probably the most obvious one too! Make sure your classmates are aware of your food allergy! Sure, you might think it’s a little embarrassing. But if the people around you aren’t aware of your food allergy there is more risk of cross contamination or accidentally eating the food you’re allergic to.
If you’re still feeling really uneasy about food tech, and prefer to learn to cook at home, note that most schools tend only to run food tech for two terms with each class. The class then swaps to another of the Design & Technology subjects (textiles, computer tech, woodwork etc). Speak with your parents and teacher/year adviser and ask if you could do a full year of another subject, rather than food tech.
For more information, and a handy guide to Food Tech please read: https://allergyfacts.org.au/images/pdf/foodtech.pdf