Celiac College Student Survey completed January 2019
Food Service Vendor?
What stage are you in college?
Please describe your meal plan for each year there so far.
My meal plan is 12 meals per week in addition to a certain amount of meal points which I can use to purchase food at our convenience store or other food stall vendors. The school requires that all freshmen have meal plans.
How many years ago were you diagnosed with celiac?
How sensitive to gluten are you?
Extremely: React to even small traces
How would you describe the worst reaction you have had since diagnosis?
Does your college handle celiac food restrictions as you expected they would when you selected your school?
Somewhat what I expected
Grade your college on feeding celiac students
Explain your rationale for that grade
I haven't gotten sick because of cross contamination which is great! There are designated stations that are completely allergen-free and most food vendors have gluten free bread and change their gloves. However the food that is safe for students with Celiac isn't always very good and I've found that I've been eating the same things (chicken or fish) without much variety. There is rarely gluten free carbs (pastas or pizzas) which I miss. Overall the food could be better but it could be a lot worse.
Check all that apply
My school is small and has only a few dining halls, Ability to feed me varies somewhat across dining halls, I feel comfortable eating at any dining hall on campus, I frequent certain dining halls because they have more options although all are safe, I can find some but not enough food in any of the dining halls, I have great options at some of the dining halls, Ability to eat well was a critical part of my college selection process, I asked alot of questions before I came but the reality was different
Did you register with your students disabilities office for accommodations? If yes, describe.
I did not.
Are there resources (nutritionists, chefs, peer support groups) to help ensure you are receiving safe nutritious food? Describe
There are nutritionists, dietitians, and chefs who are very helpful and have walked me through the dining hall and explained how everything has worked.
How many times have you been glutenized in your dining hall? If you didn't answer NONE, please explain what happened and how school responded.
Describe your biggest celiac challenge at college and how you manage it
The hardest challenge is being limited in what options I can have. Eating the same food can be tiring so I try to go out to eat when I can (the area near my school is very gluten free friendly). I also just eat what is there and am thankful it is prepared carefully.
If you were in charge of dining, what changes would you implement to better feed celiac students? Would your school be open to these suggestions?
I'd make more meals allergen friendly (for example they make spaghetti and meatballs (adding breadcrumbs) but could easily use gf pasta or not add breadcrumbs so more people could eat it). I'd also diversify meals more and add gluten free pasta and maybe different entrees to the mix so there is more variety to what I'm eating and I feel as though as I have more of a choice when I'm eating.
Did celiac impact your housing decision? How? Is there a certain dorm you recommend for celiacs? Why?
Yes. I applied for an accommodation to get certain housing with a private bathroom in case cross contamination ever occurs.
Your advice to new celiac kids for managing the dining halls? Favorite dining hall(s)?
My advice is to speak to a chef or nutritionist because they're really helpful in figuring out which foods and dining halls work for you. At Brandeis, both dining halls are pretty gluten-free friendly. However, I prefer Usdan because it has two designated stations that are allergen-free as well as a room stocked with gluten free breads and baked goods.
Your advice to new celiac kids for eating in the dorm? Favorite snacks? Places that deliver?
I love gluten free Mac and cheese cups as well as having a stash of energy bars, Tate's cookies, and gluten free pretzels. I usually just order food from amazon or bring it up from home. My mom also made meals that I keep in my freezer in case dining hall food doesn't work out one night.
Your advice to new celiac kids on preparing before they come? Or doing upon first arrival?
I would definitely pack snacks and figure out before coming to college or when you get there what dining halls work for you so you can establish a routine. I'd also reach out to a nutrionist / chef so you can learn how the kitchen works and what options are safe for you or not.
Your advice to new celiac kids on managing keg parties and alcohol scene?
Parties are hard. Most alcohol there is cheap and therefore has gluten. I just bring my own to be safe. I recommend having your own supply just incase because its better knowing exactly what you're drinking, regardless if you are sensitive to gluten or not.
Grade your college town area for celiac friendliness
Favorite places to eat in town or foodshop?
In Waltham, there's a really good restaurant called Bistro781 which is super gluten free friendly. I also love Not Your Average Joe's and the North End in Boston has so many amazing gluten free friendly restaurants.