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.