More and more schools are offering gluten-free options in the cafeteria, but if your college is behind the curve, here are some suggestions on how to get by:
- Advocate for yourself by making an appointment to speak with the cafeteria manager. Suggest that they set up a designated and identified gluten-free refrigerator/freezer stocked with gluten-free lunch meat, cheeses, vegetables, hard boiled eggs, hummus, juices, peanut butter and jelly, frozen berries for smoothies and frozen gluten-free dinners and pizza. You can also suggest an omelet bar, gluten-free toaster, crackers and snack bars in a bowl, a blender for smoothies and microwave for frozen meals.
- If a gluten free area is not an option in your cafeteria, stick with fresh salad bars (bring your own dressing), hard-boiled eggs, vegetables, unprocessed and unbreaded meats. Avoid gravy and sauces.
- Since you don’t know how food is being prepared in the kitchen, assume that most cooked foods, including grilled items, may be cross-contaminated. If you can speak with the kitchen staff, and they are willing to be educated about gluten-free cooking, you may have a chance of eating more cooked options in the cafeteria.
- Most dorm rooms come with a small refrigerator. Stock your room with fresh fruits and vegetables. Get an air-tight storage box where you can keep gluten-free snacks and bars.
- Talk to your roommate about celiac disease (CD) so they can be supportive. (See Living Gluten-Free: What Friends & Family Need to Know). Your refrigerator is usually shared, so make sure your roommate knows how to avoid cross-contamination. Put your name on your food items to avoid double dipping.