For many of us living with food allergies, food and everything about it can be scary. But it doesn’t have to be. Food can also be something that gives us control, power, and reassurance. Being able to cook or bake something delicious from scratch that is entirely safe for you to eat is extremely rewarding.
We’ve all been there, seeing a type of food or dish that looks amazing that we can’t wait to try, and then finding out that because of our food allergies it is not safe for us to eat it. Instead of being upset, why not just try to make your own version of it?
All food allergy kids should cook!
As a teen who has learnt to cook early on, knowing we can make it at home has helped manage the emotional aspect of having food allergies. I’ve gone to restaurants and bakeries only to find myself online or at the grocery store the next day, looking for ingredients to make my own safe version of whatever was being served. When I cook my own food, I can make sure that what I make is 100% safe for me to eat, and I don’t have to worry about cross-contamination or dangerous ingredients because I know exactly how it was prepared.
Why you should teach your food allergy kid to cook… to share the joy
Cooking is so much fun! Why wouldn’t you want to teach your food allergy kid to cook when they can start to associate joy with food?
I love making baked goods in large batches and sharing them with people, which helps raise awareness about food allergies. By making something that is safe for me to eat and then sharing it with my friends or neighbours, I’m able to show them that allergy-friendly cooking can still be totally delicious while safe at the same time.
Why you should teach your food allergy kid to cook… to empower
Cooking my own food has also empowered me through the social aspect of having food allergies. Food is the center of many events and parties, and often those of us with food allergies are unable to enjoy the snacks and meals like most other people at events. Sometimes I bring enough baked goods to a party or event so that I can share it with everyone else, and that way, I can partake just like everyone else at the party because I know that the food I cooked and shared is safe.
Food allergies are serious, but they don’t have to limit you or give you a negative relationship with food. Cooking your own food gives you a sense of confidence that, despite your food allergies, you can still make and eat amazing food, share it with others, and enjoy it while staying safe.
One of the best tools I have in feeling empowered to live a full life while managing multiple food allergies is the ability to cook. It takes any form of limitation one may feel with food allergies and gives back the power. If I could give any food allergy parent a tip, it would be to teach your food allergy kid how to cook. If you can’t cook, then learn together! It is one thing I know I will forever be grateful my parents did for me.
Sophie is a sophomore in high school and our Teen Editor who lives with multiple food allergies . She created Food Allergy Alliance, a virtual allergy support group. She loves to bake and babysit. Sophie hopes you find the positive side of an allergic life.