Thursday, January 12, 2012

14 Colleges That Cater to Gluten-Free Students



Over the past few decades, rates of gluten intolerance, also known as celiac disease, have skyrocketed. Today, it is estimated that nearly one out of every 133 people may have some degree of gluten intolerance. Whether this is because of a rise in actual gluten intolerance or just better ways of understanding and diagnosing the disease has yet to be determined, but it does mean that more and more colleges are paying attention and providing for the needs of students who may suffer from a gluten intolerance. While there is still a long way to go in making the majority of schools safe and celiac-friendly, some colleges and universities are going above and beyond when it comes to providing gluten-free options. Here are just a few of the schools who are leading the way, though many, if not most, have programs to provide meals for students with any kind of dietary need.

  1. Baylor University

    At Baylor University, students can find a wide range of gluten-free menu options through the school’s dining services. Due to demand from students, the university began offering more gluten-free options in 2010, and students can find out about which dining halls and menu items will meet their needs through the menus posted online each week.

  2. University of Tennessee

    Students with gluten intolerance can get help through a student nutrition coordinator found on campus. These professionals can help to ensure that students get the nutrition they need without encountering any potentially harmful gluten. Additionally, Volunteer Dining offers a range of gluten-free options both in residential dining halls and in the stores found throughout the campus. For students who still can’t find what they need, the school offers the option to put in special orders, though this must be done ahead of time.

  3. Georgetown University

    Georgetown University is working hard to meet the dietary needs of all the students on campus. While dining halls do not always have gluten-free options, students shouldn’t despair. The school has a registered dietician on staff who can help those with celiac to find the resources, tools, and food they need. This program can provide students with everything from gluten-free foods, to a gluten-free microwave to use, so that they’ll stay safe and healthy on campus.

  4. Oregon State University

    Students at Oregon State don’t have to work hard to find gluten-free options in their dining halls. The school offers a list of all of the gluten-free options they serve in each on-campus dining hall or cafe. At some locations, these options may be limited, but in many of the larger dining halls, gluten-intolerant students should find a wide range of healthy and tasty foods that won’t irritate their digestive systems. If those items don’t suit student needs, there is always a registered dietician on hand to make sure that dietary considerations are met.

  5. Bard College

    Bard College offers dining hall services that can meet a wide range of student dietary needs, from veganism to gluten intolerance. The school is currently working on renovations to one of their main dining halls that will include a new gluten-free section, keeping these foods separate from those that might contaminate them with gluten and cause reactions in some of the most sensitive students.

  6. University of Wisconsin

    In addition to a thriving student club on campus advocating for gluten-free options, UW Madison is working hard to meet the needs of students who need meals that are vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. They’ve begun to label all food served in the cafeteria with symbols that are designed to make it simple to determine whether an item is OK to eat. Students can check with the weekly menus posted online to see what options will be gluten-free on any given day, with great choices like Thai noodles with tofu, tostadas, and enchiladas available.

  7. Southern Methodist University

    Eating gluten-free on campus can be a challenge, but Southern Methodist works to ensure that the process is a little bit easier for students. There is a registered dietician on staff who can help to design a healthy eating program for students and provides gluten-free options and equipment to students. Additionally, the school has recently created a dining hall called Healthy on the Hilltop which serves vegan and gluten-free fare (among other healthy options) to students with these dietary restrictions.

  8. University of Arizona

    Many people don’t realize the seriousness of gluten intolerance and how it is different from a food allergy, but students at the University of Arizona are working to change that. They have a large and growing group of advocates on campus who are pushing for greater gluten-free awareness. Dining services has taken notice, and in the fall of 2011 it began making changes to make it easier for gluten-free students on campus. This included switching to gluten-free food suppliers, choosing local foods, and educating staff on gluten-free preparation. Additionally, the school now offers several gluten-free entrées on campus, including pastas and breads that are totally gluten-free.

  9. Ithaca College

    There are three dining halls on Ithaca College’s campus, and each offers varying levels of gluten-free accommodation. At the main dining hall in the student center, there are gluten-free menus available for both lunch and dinner every day, giving students a range of options to choose from. There is also the Gluten-Free Pantry, which provides gluten-free breads, pastas, and equipment like microwaves and toasters. The other two dining halls don’t have a running menu, but students can pre-order gluten-free meals at them by contacting the dining hall management.

  10. Texas A&M, Corpus Christi

    Students at Texas A&M in Corpus Christi will find help from the school’s registered dietician in finding healthy and safe meal options. In the dining halls, students are provided with products like rice cereal, gluten-free pizza, soups, snacks, and desserts, as well as a whole host of veggies.

  11. University of Notre Dame

    In order to make eating in the dining halls less complicated for students who need to stick to a gluten-free diet, Notre Dame has listed all the menu items they serve on campus that are free of gluten. Students can search by dining hall for entrées, sides, and snacks that are gluten-free. For students who want something different, the dining hall will prepare special meals on request to meet any dietary needs, including gluten-free.

  12. University of New Hampshire

    Students can follow this link to an informative guide on eating gluten-free at UNH. With the help of the registered dietician and the director of culinary services, students shouldn’t have too hard a time finding gluten-free options. In each of the three dining halls on campus, students can find a gluten-free zone with restricted microwaves, toasters, and refrigerators, as well as a selection of prepackaged gluten-free items like cereal, bread, granola bars, waffles, desserts, and condiments. Students can also choose to pre-order meals or cook their own stir fry or omelets in separate gluten-restricted stations.

  13. SUNY Potsdam

    SUNY Potsdam goes above and beyond when it comes to accommodating students who need to eat gluten-free. Students at SUNY can choose from a wide range of gluten-free prepackaged items for entrées or snacks. There are also separate stations in the dining halls that cater to gluten-free eaters, preventing cross-contamination while also ensuring celiac students have plenty of options to choose from. Even at the school’s deli, students can choose from a variety of gluten-free breads, making finding something to eat on campus much easier. Additionally, meals can be prepared on request for any student who needs or wants them.

  14. Tufts University

    Tufts takes food allergies and intolerance quite seriously, and has tried to accommodate students with these special needs accordingly. The school has prepared a number of educational pamphlets on the issue that students can read through to learn what their dining options are on campus and how gluten-free meals are prepared. Students are advised to work with the school’s dietician, but can also find information on all menu items through "food fact cards." The school also lists all foods served at dining halls across campus that are safe for people with celiac to eat.

Source: Handorf, Tim. Best Colleges


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