College is an incredibly exciting time, but it’s also a period of great adjustment. Leaving home, living in a new environment, meeting new friends and balancing all of this with college classes can be challenging! Especially for students with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Navigating college on a gluten-free diet adds another layer of complexity, but don’t fear! Follow the tips below to become a savvy gluten-free college student.
1. Use technology– Nowadays you can search for anything with the click of a button… even gluten-free friendly restaurants! Download the free Find Me Gluten Free app or browse the website to find safe places to eat near your college campus.
2. Work with school staff– Get in touch with your college’s dining services or health center to discuss food options on campus. Depending on the school, there may already be lots of accommodations in place! Ask the head chef to walk you through the cafeteria and point out which food items are safe for you to consume. Ask if there is open freezer space in the dining hall where you can store gluten-free frozen meals and bread products throughout the semester. If you find your school doesn’t offer the accommodations you need, brainstorm some improvements and request a meeting with the appropriate staff.
3. Get gluten-free goodies delivered– There are subscription box services for everything these days including gluten-free products! Sign up for a service like Send Me Gluten Free to get a gluten-free care package delivered straight to your dorm each month! Right now you can get 25% off a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription with code SCHOOL25.
4. Come prepared– Make sure to bring a mini fridge/freezer and your own toaster (to avoid cross contamination) if your campus allows it. Many schools have fridges available to rent for the school year.
5. Stock up on staple items– Stock up on gluten-free nonperishables and store them in your dorm room so you have plenty of snacks on hand. Things like microwaveable oatmeal cups, cereal, crackers, chips, nuts, popcorn, snack bars, peanut butter packets and dried fruit are easy to store and even easier to eat!
6. Factor gluten-free into your decision making– Haven’t committed to a college yet? Research the gluten-free dining options at your top schools and factor that into your decision making process. Browse GlutenFreeTravelSite to read college dining reviews or check out the Top 10 Gluten Free Accommodating Colleges.
7. Download the college student toolkit– The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness has a Gluten-Free College Student Toolkit, filled with additional tips and information.