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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams
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    More Campus Dining Halls Resemble Restaurants, Offer Gluten-free and Other Options

    Celiac.com 05/24/2012 - The old, cafeteria-style dining campus hall is fast becoming a thing of the past.

    Photo: CC--toastforthebrekkieToday’s students are bringing their more sophisticated palates and health-related concerns to campuses and schools are stepping up to accommodate them.

    Driven by these new consumer demands, and more creative management, more and more campus dining halls are beginning to resemble restaurants, featuring selections that reflect world cuisine and emerging food trends.

    Students are "becoming more sophisticated customers," says Joe Wojtowicz, general manager of Sodexo, Inc.'s Crossroads dining room at Concordia University Chicago in River Forest.

    These days, it's common for students to press staff about food options, especially questions about celiac disease, gluten-intolerance, food allergies and vegetarian preferences.

    More and more are moving to accommodate dietary restrictions like vegetarian, Kosher or halal, or putting gluten-free or lactose-free choices on their menus.

    From higher quality ingredients, such as free-range eggs, humanely raised meats, and fresh, locally produced produce, dining halls are increasingly offering more exotic options like Cuban, Chinese, or Thai dishes.

    “It’s not just spaghetti for Italian and tacos for Mexican,” said Rachel Warner, marketing director for the National Association of College and University Food Services.

    Many colleges are hiring restaurant chefs, dieticians and nutritionists to oversee the dining hall operations and some are even customizing meals to meet individual student needs or preferences.

    “I think that the shift in dining is really driven by the consumers. They come in with higher expectations and are increasingly savvy about the world around them and the different kinds of food,” says Warner.

    More and more, this higher level of student awareness and expectation is driving camp offerings.

    At DePaul University, students were asked to vote on whether a particular brand of hummus was suitable at their school.

    At Northwestern University, students recently enjoyed a “cruise night” offering food of the tropics. At Loyola University Chicago, students drink hormone-free milk. Students at Northewestern University can choose from numerous kosher options.

    One university in Texas offers a vegan dining hall and a Colorado school has a station dedicated to Persian cuisine.

    According to Warner, “Students are coming in and they do want to have a little bit more say and more options.”

    These dining hall improvements are yielding benefits not just to students, but to their communities.

    In 2011, Wheaton College was ranked by the Princeton Review as having the best campus food in America. The dining services are run by Bon Appetit management company.

    Raul Delgado, general manager of Wheaton College’s dining services, says “When you look at this, the farthest thing from your mind is a cafeteria…This is a restaurant. And like any restaurant, it’s open to the general public.

    Esther Howerzyl, 68, who biked to Wheaton from St. Charles with a group of friends, says the food is "very organic health food and I like all the seeds, the variety of seeds.”

    Do you have experience with these evolving campus dining trends, especially as they relate to gluten-free options? If so, please comment below.

    Also read a related article: Schools Offering Better Food Options for Students with Celiac Disease, Other Food Concerns.


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    I am moving to a retirement community that provides 2 meals a day and the dietitian says they can accomodate my gluten-free needs. I hope this all works out.

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    My son attends University of California Santa Cruz and they also have gluten-free options. However, the employees working in the cafeteria are not that careful about cross-contamination. They will scramble eggs where pancakes have just been made. One girl with celiac disease who works in the cafeteria told my son that if he has celiac disease, he shouldn't be eating in the cafeteria. The campus kitchens need to understand and be more careful about cross-contamination and provide training to their employees.

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    Guest Tempe Huntington

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    My daughter will be attending Fairfeild University in Fairfeild Connecticut. We have already met with the head of dining services and 2 head chefs. They were wonderful. They showed us around the dining hall where I couldn't believe how many options students had from make your own salad, omelettes and pancakes. There are designated gluten-free toasters and a microwave, as well as a refrigerator stocked with gluten-free items. The chefs told her there was no way to guarantee no one used the toasters and they would be happy to make whatever she wants safely uncontaminated in the kitchen. They will send her a menu every week of what they are serving and she will list what she wants for each meal and have it waiting at the time she specifies. They will even make pizza for her to take outside with her friends. It really is like a restaurant. I hope it works out as well as it sounds!

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    My daughter attends Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. They offer high quality, healthy food for all the students in the dining hall. There are large screens posting the menu in the cafeteria, with notations for whether the item is gluten-free, Vegan, Dairy Free, Nut Free (ETC). They are careful with food handling and don't allow students to serve themselves due to contamination issues. There is a separate freezer, toaster, and prep area for kids to help themselves to gluten-free foods and condiments. They also make gluten-free cakes for birthdays!

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    Guest Karen Broussard

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    We've recently begun a big initiative, with the support of NFCA and Udi's, to get gluten-free college students to submit reviews of their campus's gluten-free offerings. It helps prospective students with Celiac disease as they begin their college search. Udi's will be getting their 100+ college "ambassadors" to submit reviews to our site, and our goal is to get all colleges around the country reviewed. There is certainly a range of gluten-free knowledge among campus dining services' staff, but slowly and steadily, more campuses are trying to educate themselves -- and provide for their gluten-free students. You can view our list of places reviewed thus far -- and submit a review of your own on our College Reviews page (linked on the bottom right corner of our home page -- GlutenFreeTravelSite).

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, and science. He previously served as Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and provided health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

  • Related Articles

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 05/04/2009 - In the rush to vaccinate people in the wake of the latest outbreak of H1N1 "Swine" flu virus, a number of people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance have asked about the gluten-free status of drugs given for the treatment of swine flu.
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website has a page dedicated to antiviral medicines and swine influenza. That website contains the following information:
    To treat H1N1/swine flu, or prevent the flu in people one year of age or older who have been exposed to the virus, the CDC recommends oseltamivir (Tamiflu®). When contacted, Roche representatives stated that all Roche products, including Tamiflu, are gluten-free.
    To treat H1N1/swine flu infection in people 7 years of age and older, or to prevent infection in people 5 years and older, the CDC recommends zanamivir (Relenza®). When contacted, GSK representatives stated that gluten is not one of the active or inactive ingredients in Relenza, but that GSK cannot guarantee that the product is free from potential cross-contamination.
    Please be aware that this information applies only to products available in the U.S. For drugs obtained internationally, contact the manufacturers directly.
    Resources:
    Zanamivir (Relenza)
    Glaxo Smith Kline
    (888) 825-5249
    Oseltamivir (Tamiflu)
    Roche Pharmaceuticals
    (800) 526-6367
    Source: Nancy Lapid, About.com Guide to Celiac Disease

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 09/14/2011 - There is a bit of a dust-up over the cost of gluten-free bread to UK taxpayers. It seems that either UK's National Health Service (NHS) is being gouged, or that the conservative party had released inaccurate statistics about the cost of gluten-free bread to UK taxpayers.
    In the UK, those diagnosed with celiac disease are given a doctor's prescription that allows them to purchase gluten-free bread from stores or pharmacies at cost that is partly subsidized by the taxpayer.
    The dust-up began when press reports stated that each loaf of gluten-free bread cost the NHS in Wales £32 (over $40), once the costs of diagnosis and prescription were factored in.
    This prompted a reply by major gluten-free bread-maker Genius Foods noting that Genius supplies the bread to the NHS at the exact same rate as it supplies to stores, and saying that Genius was frustrated by additional charges levied on gluten-free bread that it supplies to the NHS in Wales.
     Genius also said: “Some pharmacies, however, choose to order through a wholesaler, and in these instances the wholesaler can opt to apply an additional administration charge for taking and placing these orders." 
    Genius added that: “This handling fee appears to be charged directly to the NHS. Genius Foods does not profit in any way from these charges.”
    However, the UK government insists that talk of £32 loaves is incorrect, and claims that the £32 figure came after the nation’s Conservative party read statistics as referring to cost per loaf, rather than prescription.
    Welsh health minister Lesley Griffiths said, "The actual cost for the single loaf of gluten-free bread in question is around £2.82, not the £32 claimed."


    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 05/16/2013 - As more Americans then ever are looking to either reduce the amount of gluten in their diets or to eliminate it entirely, many nutritionists are saying that cutting gluten carelessly can be unnecessary and unhealthy, while others are pointing out that it is likely a waste of money for those who do not suffer from celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
    In a recent poll by market-research company NDP Group, one in three adults said they were looking to cut down or eliminate gluten from their diets. Those are the highest numbers since NDP began asking the question in 2009. In fact, in 2012, TIME magazine put the gluten-free movement at #2 on its top 10 list of food trends.
    Current estimates put the number of Americans with celiac disease (diagnosed or not) at about 3 million. Other studies indicate that as many as many as one in 16 Americans may have a less-severe sensitivity to gluten that can trigger gastrointestinal symptoms.
    For people with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity, avoiding gluten is not merely beneficial, it is necessary for good health. For everyone else, though, avoiding gluten is unnecessary, provides questionable benefit, and can increase food costs substantially.
    One thing to remember, is that junk food is junk food, whether is contains gluten or not. Many people who do not have celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity, and who feel better after cutting gluten out of their diet, are really benefiting simply because they have eliminated junk foods and/or breaded, fried foods from their diet, not because they have a problem eating gluten.
    On the other hand, many others who do not have celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity, and who simply replace junky, processed foods with gluten-free versions are gaining little or no benefit, and are, in fact, spending money unnecessarily. That's because gluten-free foods usually cost more than their gluten-containing counterparts.
    How much more? When researchers from Dalhousie Medical School at Dalhousie University in Canada compared prices for 56 standard grocery items with similar gluten-free items, they found that the gluten-free products cost about 2½ times more than the gluten-containing versions.
    With more and more food manufacturers producing more and more gluten-free products, the gluten-free market in the United States is projected to grow from $4.2 billion last year to $6.6 billion by 2017.
    But that still doesn't add up to the NPD Group’s finding that 29% of Americans are trying to avoid gluten. The numbers suggest that many consumers are staying away from gluten simply because it’s trendy to do so.
    It is likely true that many people are following gluten-free diets unnecessarily, but it is also true that many more people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity remain undiagnosed, and the exact nature of those conditions needs to be better understood to know who will fully benefit from a gluten-free diet. In the meantime, look for the gluten-free market to grow, and look for much of that growth to be driven by people without an official diagnosis that actually requires a gluten-free diet.
    Source:
    http://business.time.com/2013/03/13/why-were-wasting-billions-on-gluten-free-food/

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 05/13/2015 - In addition to being a common ingredient in many commercial food products, gluten is also used in numerous medications, supplements, and vitamins, often as an inert ingredient known as an excipient.
    Because chronic gluten-related inflammation and damage impairs absorption of nutrients, and likely causes malabsorption of oral medications, it is extremely important for people with celiac disease to review the nutrition labels of all foods and beverages, as well as the package inserts (PI) for information about gluten content.
    Most oral medications depend on absorption through the small intestine via passive diffusion. GI-tract damage may shift this diffusion process into systemic circulation, which can result in increased or decreased absorption, depending on the drug molecules.
    Since drug molecules have varying and unique chemical properties, it is hard to determine the exact means of drug absorption in celiac patients, and also hard to determine the impact of celiac disease on drug absorption.
    Based on their molecular properties, researchers suspect the absorption of a number of drugs is impaired by gluten sensitivity.
    These drugs include: acetaminophen, aspirin, indomethacin, levothyroxine, prednisolone, propranolol, and certain antibiotics.
    For these reasons, it is important for doctors to monitor serum drug levels for medications with narrow therapeutic indexes in people with celiac disease. If you have celiac disease, please let your doctor know before you take these drugs.
    Source:
    US Pharmacist. 2014;39(12):44-48.

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