Eating a gluten-free diet in college seems to be more challenging for younger students who have just moved away from home than for second and third year students. Studying, working and managing everything for the first time can get overwhelming. As kids try to fit in with the crowd, having a special diet can even feel awkward. If the student is newly diagnosed, they may even find themselves disappointed when they discover all the staple foods they can no longer eat. But, with a little bit of planning and education things calm down and it is not that difficult. That is if you are not obliged to eat cafeteria food as my daughter did but that is another story completely.
As the gluten-free diet for weight loss and other reasons increases, there may be more people trying it out as with all fad diets, but if you need to eat this way for medical reasons you have no choice in the matter. Florida State student S. Binder suggests that unless you need to live gluten-free then the challenge of following the diet may not be worth the risk healthwise especially while being a student. Wheat and the other grains containing gluten also carry nutrients that are hard to find in other foods
Eating a Gluten-Free Diet in College for Health Reasons
I was determined to find a way to eat gluten-free while in college. My first warning to my peers is that I would not recommend being gluten-free if you are not allergic to gluten. Many wheat products contain essential nutrients that the body needs. By going gluten-free when you don’t need to, you could develop a deficiency in those nutrients. My other piece of advice is that you should develop a variety of options of gluten-free meals..
Not eating a balanced diet is common among many students but if one can avoid further problems and wants to promote health diet, sleep and excercise are good to keep under consideration. A nother challenge for students is eating out in restaurants or with others at their homes. Most restaurants are not gluten free though some may offer the odd gluten free dish. However, a gluten-free kitchen cannot be counted upon. Not benig shy when communicating with friends about your needs is essential. In most cases people will accomodate with a little bit of education.
One of the biggest challenges of being gluten-free is that eating out has become much more difficult. Almost all foods in restaurants contain wheat or are cross-contaminated with wheat.
As someone who is gluten intolerant, I feel extremely lucky to be living during this time period. Twenty years ago my choices would have been even more limited on what I could eat and many less restaurants and food companies would make accommodations for costumers who can’t have gluten. source
If you have to go away to school, be prepared to find that eating a gluten-free diet in college gets better after you learn the ropes. For the first little while, if you are unable to find a gluten-free cafeteria, brining groceries and home made frozen meals is an excellent idea. Make sure you read labels ALL the time and always ask questions about how the food was prepared when eating in someone elses kitchen. If you play it smart, you will eat a far more healthy diet than many of your friends who grab the closest convience food just to fill the void.