02 June 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Gluten Free Goes to College: Visiting the University

Thousands of high school seniors who live gluten free will be entering college this fall. Up until this point, parents have had some control over their eating habits, their adherence to the gluten free diet, their snacking,  their expenditures for food, and their restaurant choices.  All this changes abruptly in September.

 Families traditionally visit universities before making a final decision. The point is not find the most-gluten-friendly college: there is no-such thing as a gluten free college. The goal is find  to find a  situation where the student’s gluten free lifestyle can be maintained  with a minimum of expense, time, and effort.

 The family’s visit should certainly include a gluten free meal in one of the university’s dining halls. Which facilities provide gluten free meals? How long is the walk from your students living quarters to the dining room? How often is the menu changed? Are there choices on the menu? Is there variety? Are gluten free and “regular” meals served at the same time on the same serving lines? If so, how are cross-contamination issues handled? Are dedicated fryers used? Do the dining hall personnel seem knowledgable?

 Visit the dormitory where your student will be living. Is there space for a microwave oven and a small refrigerator? What rules cover the use of these utensils. Is there adequate storage space? (Keep in mind that your student must keep keep his food, his cooking utensils, and his cleaning supplies separate.)  Are there facilities for dish washing?

What supermarket chains are available? What about eating places? With luck, your student will be able to do some “practicing” in his local neighborhood before he enters college.

During or after your visit:

~~~> find out which restaurant chains have outlets in both the university-neighborhood and in your home town. That way, your student’s  “practice dining” will be as realistic as possible.

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~~~> do the same thing with supermarket chains. Again, the goal is realistic practice. During this process, your student will need to deal with the reality the gluten free foods are relatively expensive.

~~~> purchase the microwave oven and the small refrigerator that your student will be taking to college. It is possible to buy units that provide both microwave and refrigeration operations. (The brand name is Micro-Fridge).

~~~> begin collecting and practicing recipes that may be appropriate. Emphasize the cooking includes cleaning up afterwards, washing the dishes, and storing the food appropriately.

~~~> purchase the large sealable storage containers that your student will need to safely store his gluten-sensitive supplies in the dormitory.

~~~> purchase the microwave oven and the small refrigerator that your student will be taking to college. It is possible to buy units that provide both microwave and refrigeration operations. (The brand name is Micro-Fridge).

~~~> begin collecting and practicing recipes that may be appropriate. Emphasize the cooking includes cleaning up afterwards, washing the dishes, and storing the food appropriately.

~~~> purchase the large sealable storage containers that your student will need to safely store his gluten-sensitive supplies in the dormitory.

I plan to write more about the young-celiac’s transition from living at home to living in college. I’ll link you to those articles as soon as they are published.

 

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