Friday, August 5, 2011

Celiac Friendly Colleges: Leading by Example

As I'm sitting here, watching The Social Network with my dad, I've become inspired to write something back-to-school/college related (uhhh Julie? Isn't that sort of the point of your blog? Why yes, it is. Thanks for the input.). For high school celiacs looking to attend college, the availability of gluten free food can be a major factor in deciding where to apply and ultimately attend. In my curiosity to see what different colleges are doing to facilitate the eating experience of celiac students, I did some research on the topic. Here are some stand out universities that I came upon:

Columbia University
The dietitian at Columbia goes the extra mile for gluten free students: orientating them around nearby markets, introducing the chef, and even teaching them how to read nutrition labels! The chef prepares two 100% gluten free meals every day, and takes special requests! I don't know about you, but this sounds like gluten free heaven to me!

University of Colorado: Boulder
Boulder, Colorado is known for being one of the healthiest cities in the U.S. There is a certainly no shortage of gluten free options in the area surrounding the college. So what about the college itself? The school identifies the top eight food allergen (fish, eggs, dairy, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, wheat) AND gluten on all their menu items. They have also cracked down on creating stricter cooking environments to ensure that a food marked as gluten free is truly 100% gluten free- an easy detail that many universities let slip by!

Yale University
Yale is prestigious both in academics and, as their dining services website signifies, their accommodation to students with food allergies as well. Their website describes each allergen in detail and claims that they can specially order gluten free breads, cereals, pastas, and more. They will also take extra measures to follow gluten free preparation requirements for you. All you have to do is ask!

University of Connecticut
The head chef at this school sets the perfect example for what all college chefs should be like. He acknowledges that one student's unique dietary needs is just as important as another's, so he is sure to educate his staff on the preparation and serving of gluten free foods. They have everything available in gluten free from bread to pasta, even desserts (which are not baked on site due to risk of cross contamination). They have separate toasters in all their facilities, designated for gluten free bread only, and they have a dietitian who checks up on students with special diets several times a year. Sounds good to me!

Some honorable mentions: Brown University, College of the Holy Cross, Franklin and Marshall College (they've all opened allergy free kitchens and offer made-to-order meals prepared by specialty trained cooks!)
Here's some more celiac friendly colleges
And here's a really great article from USA Today related to this topic, "Colleges Accommodate More Students With Food Allergies". Enjoy!


Nancy Lapid said...

Some more info about how colleges are trying to be helpful:

It's from a few years ago, but the contact information might be useful.

Julie said...

thank you, nancy! I'll post this link at the bottom of the post =]

Miranda said...

I'm a senior in high school this year and have looked around in michigan for colleges that can accomidate my gf diet and have found grand valley has wonderful gf options, I have met with the staff and am hopefully going there next fall :)

Julie said...

Miranda-- I wish you the best of luck at Grand Valley! Sounds like you'll be able to eat well there =]

Felcy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I attend College of the Ozarks, a small college. I am well taken care of by the chefs (one in particular who has a gluten-free daughter) in the cafeteria. They are always careful about knowing what has gluten and, on the days when there isn't much that is gluten free will make me something special. They always have gluten-free brownies available for dessert, as well as icecream and pudding.

As for cross contamination, they make sure to change pans when there has been contact with gluten, and, where they cannot change (such as having a special oven) they warn myself and the other 3 gluten-free kids on campus about possible contamination.

Lisa Eberhart said...

North Carolina State University does a great job with all allergies. We have I-pads that sort every menu item by allergen at all dining halls and many of our retail operations, we have QR codes at the point of sale that show calories and allergens. We also have all of our standard menu items marked for allergens. Most of our deli meats and our salad ressings are gluten free. We have a gluten free soup every day and make sure we have gluten free options on the menu. We have a "worry free" station where we have a dedicated toaster gluten free breads, bagels and muffins daily. We also have gluten free burgers, hot dogs and fries at all dining halls

Post a Comment