As the new school year approaches quickly, some students may be a bit worried when they start thinking about all the aspects of the dining halls. Where do I sit? Which foods taste yummy? Which ones taste like a literal cardboard box? For someone with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, the questions can be even more alarming…Will I even be able to eat anything?
People with Celiac disease and gluten intolerance cannot digest gluten, a protein found in many foods, and, therefore, must be extra careful not to eat it accidentally. While this might seem intimidating at first, it can actually be really easy to master! Below are four tips to help students on gluten free diets conquer the dining halls and still enjoy their favorite meals.
1. Keep Your Eyes Open for Signs: Many college campuses are becoming more aware of gluten allergies and display signs that advertise their gluten free options. Be especially aware of signs around the sandwich and deli lines, because almost all college campuses are adding options such as gluten free bread products so that every student can enjoy their unique sandwich creations!
2. Ask the Foodservice Employees About Ingredients: Even if you are almost positive that a certain food doesn’t contain gluten, it is better to be safe and ask than suffer a bad reaction. Most foodservice employees are extremely friendly and enjoy chatting with the students, especially about their food. Don’t be shy, go ahead and ask away.
3. Test out Different Foods: Once you’ve scoped out where the gluten free foods are in your favorite dining halls, try as many different options as you can. The gluten free products offered might be different from the ones you are used to, and you never know how delicious a new food can be unless you try it. Even if you are not an overly adventurous eater, trying small bites of new foods can be exciting, and you could potentially find your new favorite gluten free food!
4. Be Proactive: Finally, if you are not satisfied with your dining hall’s gluten free foods, take a stance. Contact the foodservice director or the dietitian on campus and talk to them about adding new gluten free foods into their menus. Better yet, make a list of your favorite gluten free recipes, and offer them to the foodservice department to whip up. You deserve to eat your favorite gluten free pasta and pretzels w, so be proactive and stand up for your gluten free self.
College is your home away from home, so you should be able to eat your favorite foods and snacks. Although it may seem difficult at first, with these tips, every student should be able to conquer those daunting dining halls with complete confidence.
Photo Credit: Paige Swint