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  • Jefferson Adams

    Twenty-five Notable Gluten-Free Friendly Colleges for 2013

    Jefferson Adams
    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 10/04/2013 - As part of a nationwide change on the part of colleges and universities to address food allergies and sensitivities, more and more campuses are offering gluten-free foods to their students. Here is a list of some of the most notable so far, in alphabetical order:

    Photo: CC--Wikimedia CommonsBARD COLLEGE
    Bard College is currently renovating one of their main dining halls to include a new gluten-free section.

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    At Baylor University, students can find a wide range of gluten-free menu options through the school’s dining services. Information on gluten-free meals, dining halls and menu items will meet their needs through the menus posted online each week.

    At Carleton College, each dining hallo offers a dedicated gluten free station with the same options as non-gluten-free students and are offered one naturally gluten-free entrée at every meal, along with dessert.

    Annual staff training on proper handling of gluten-free food at the dedicated gluten free station in each dining hall.

    Clark University, every meal served in the campus dining hall is made from scratch and most recipes are modified to be gluten free. In fact, Clark only serves meals that have a gluten-free equivalent.

    The dining hall also offers is also a separate “My Zone” area for students to access gluten free pasta and pizza, as well as cooking utensils and small appliances.

    To keep sharp on safe allergy food handling, food staff at Clark University train every morning as new meals go on the menu.

    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!

    Columbia's chef prepares two 100% gluten free meals every day, and takes special requests.

    A gluten-free station in the main dining hall includes hot meals, gluten free staples, and desserts. Everything on the salad bar and all salad dressing are gluten free.

    Emory kitchen staff is trained through the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’s GREAT Kitchens Program.

    Students have access to a gluten free designated station where they can find similar gluten free staples. Everything is labeled with a unique gluten free logo to ensure safety and to avoid cross contamination.

    Dining hall staff is trained repeatedly throughout each semester to understand dietary restrictions and how they can best accommodate each different food sensitivity.

    The registered dietitian on campus also works hand-in-hand with the Gluten-Free Foodies student organization to make sure students’ needs are being reached and ideas are being shared.

    Gluten free dining is available at all campus locations at Iowa State University in order to ensure that all students are receiving a proper diet.

    Dining staff is trained specifically to each dietary need and managers keep a close tab on all operations.

    Students have access to a designated area with its own refrigerator, freezer, dry storage, cooking utensils and small appliances. Besides the full service area, students are also able to request individually made meals or sign up for a gluten-free meal schedule.

    Gluten free meals are available within all dining halls on campus at Ithaca College, as well as at all campus-wide events.

    The main dining hall in the student center offers daily gluten-free menus for both lunch and dinner. Students can pre-order gluten-free meals at the campus' other two dining halls through the dining hall management.

    The campus also offers a Gluten-Free Pantry, which provides gluten-free breads, pastas, and equipment like microwaves and toasters.

    Special labeling on all products ensures safety and security of gluten-free food.

    There is also a Food Allergy Awareness Club on campus to support all students with dietary restrictions.

    Oregon State offers students a list of all of the gluten-free options served in each on-campus dining hall or cafe. At some locations, these options may be limited, but at larger dining halls, gluten-intolerant students will find a wide range of safe, healthy and tasty gluten-free food.

    A registered dietician is on hand to make sure that dietary considerations are met.

    Southern Methodist recently created a dining hall called Healthy on the Hilltop which serves vegan and gluten-free food.

    SMU offers students a registered dietician who can help to design a healthy eating program and provide gluten-free options and equipment to students.

    Gluten-free students at SUNY Potsdam have plenty of options to choose from. The school’s deli offers a variety of gluten-free breads, and the schools dining halls offer separate stations in the dining halls for gluten-free eaters.

    Students at Texas A&M in Corpus Christi will find dining halls with products like rice cereal, gluten-free pizza, soups, snacks, and desserts, and many veggies.

    They can also get help from the school’s registered dietician in finding healthy and safe meal options.

    Tuft issues lists all gluten-free foods served at dining halls across campus.

    Students can work with Tuft's dietician, but can also find information on all menu items through “food fact cards.”

    Tufts also issues educational pamphlets that describe gluten-free dining options and preparation methods.

    To ensure safety of gluten-free meal, each gluten-free order is prepared and served by a dedicated service member with special colored gloves.

    Also, the UA features a very active Gluten Free Club..

    UCONN offers a wide variety of gluten-free foods, including bread, pasta, and desserts (which are baked off-site to prevent cross contamination).

    UCONN offers at least one gluten free meal option on the menu each day. UCONN students always have access to a gluten free designated area with several additional options, including dedicated, gluten-free-only toasters in all facilities, and with a dietitian who checks up on students with special diets several times a year.

    At University of Colorado at Boulder, all school menus list the presence of any of the top eight food allergens (fish, eggs, dairy, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, wheat AND gluten) for all 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!

    University of New Hampshire students can access gluten-free products 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.

    Gluten-free eaters at Notre Dame have their own private dining area located within the main dining center. Once students meet with the school’s registered dietitian, they have access to gluten free items at all dining locations, convenience stores, and on-campus restaurants.

    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.

    All ND dining staff are trained and understand the severity of food allergies, and everything is carefully labeled on recipes, ingredient containers, menus, and online databases.

    Students with gluten intolerance can take advantage of gluten-free options both in residential dining halls and in campus stores.

    A professional campus nutrition coordinator can help students eat healthy meals and avoid potentially harmful gluten.

    For students who still can’t find what they need, the school offers the option of making special gluten-free meal orders ahead of time.

    In addition to a thriving student club on campus advocating for gluten-free options, UW Madison provides daily gluten-free options, including Thai noodles with tofu, tostadas, and enchiladas.

    Weekly online menus list gluten-free options.

    Yale's website says that Yale can specially order gluten free breads, cereals, pastas, and more. They will also take extra measures to follow gluten free preparation requirements for any student who asks.

    People with celiac disease and gluten-intolerance will be glad to know that these colleges are not alone. They are part of a nationwide effort on the part of colleges and universities to address food allergies. As such, more changes are coming soon to campuses near you, so stay tuned. Meantime, let us know what you think of this trend by colleges to provide gluten-free food for students.

    Resources: Bestcollegesonline, thecampusceliac, and udisglutenfree.

    For more information, read the College Gluten Survey


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    Thank you for this well-timed article (when college visits are going on). I would also advocate for Benedictine University in Lisle, IL. They were very accommodating to my son for not only gluten but his food sensitivities. The BU Director of Food Service would even purchase specialized food products from the nearby Whole Foods, i.e., brown rice tortillas. Hats off to all of these colleges!

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    My daughter is both gluten and casein free, and Wheaton College in Illinois has been not only accommodating, but wonderful. They ranked #1 in best meals (either Princeton Review or USA Today, can't remember) the year she applied, and rank #4 this year. I'm so surprised to not see them on this list!

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    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

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    Not all colleges are listed. Oswego was beyond helpful to me in getting something to eat. I couldn't find any place safe to eat in Oswego, NY 2 years ago. Oswego State College had gluten free food available & the kitchen had me speak with their nutritionist to see what I would like to eat. The nutritionist took care of my request personally. The kitchen was closing, I was a parent visiting open house that day, and they were more than accommodating in keeping their kitchen open for me so I could get a nutritious meal. I feel very grateful to them for going above and beyond for me.

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    Loyola Marymount University LMU Hospitality has earned GREAT School certification through the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness for implementing a comprehensive gluten-free program. In addition, the entire dining team at LMU has completed gluten-free training through the NFCA's GREAT Schools program.

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    You SERIOUSLY need to fix this list. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi does NOT, I repeat, does NOT have ANY gluten-free options on campus WHATSOEVER. At certain events you can request a gluten-free option, but as for dining on campus there is absolutely nothing. They're introducing a new dining hall this fall and they "might" have gluten-free options, but I seriously doubt it. Please fix this. It's very misleading.

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    This list lost all credibility when I saw Clark. We just took a tour. While options are labeled gluten-free, there were no measures to prevent cross contamination. "My zone" is an unattended cart in the middle of a cafeteria. Very unsafe. I found it scary.

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    Loyola Marymount University LMU Hospitality has earned GREAT School certification through the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness for implementing a comprehensive gluten-free program. In addition, the entire dining team at LMU has completed gluten-free training through the NFCA's GREAT Schools program.

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    Butler University is wonderful towards students with allergies of any kind, not just celiac. They have a separate section of the dining hall for gluten-free students. If you have other allergies besides gluten, like I do, you will get the opportunity to talk with the chef(s) about what meals can be made specifically for you. And, it's all done at no extra charge.

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    You need to take Texas A&M Corpus Christi off of this list. Nothing in that blurb is true. I'm been Celiac for 17 years, and a leader of a support group for over 6. I've been at TAMUCC for the past three years. The website where you got the information from is also wrong - I tried to get them to take it down and they don't. PLEASE take this misinformation down.

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    You need to take Emory University off of this list. The salad bar is NOT Gluten Free. For breakfast you can choose from an unappealing muffin or a waffle that falls apart in the toaster. There is no protein (yogurt, eggs, etc.) or fruit available that is free of cross-contamination. For lunch and dinner you're offered a piece of plain meat, dried out crusty rice, and squash (rarely a different vegetable) for almost every meal. While the menu will call this meal something new and different, it is same plain and unappealing meal over and over. While the rest of the students are eating a wide variety of different vegetables and entrees.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised 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.

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