By: Elizabeth Treiber, Practicum Student
Gluten-free diets can be extremely challenging to follow. For people who have a gluten allergy or Celiac disease, even just a little gluten can cause serious damage. Luckily for students following a gluten-free diet, BU Dining Services and the Sargent Choice Nutrition Center have been working together to provide students gluten-free foods that are safe, accessible, and, of course, tasty.
One great resource that gluten-free students now have on campus is BU Dining Service’s gluten-free kitchen at Marciano Commons and gluten-free station at West Campus. These gluten-free stations are equipped with their own cooking utensils and specially trained staff to make sure there is no cross-contamination. They also feature some delicious recipes, such as the Braised Salmon and Sargent Choice Grilled Moroccan Chicken, which will provide some variety for students following a gluten-free diet.
These two locations also have gluten-free pantries, each with its own microwave and toaster designed only for gluten-free items. Here students can find food ranging from gluten-free frozen dinners to gluten-free pancake mix. At Marciano Commons the pantry is open access, but at West Campus, students must swipe into the pantry, or ask a staff member for a key. To get access to the pantry contact the Sargent Choice Nutrition Center at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a training session. Warren also has a small fridge where students can find a few gluten-free items or store their own. If anything from the pantry needs to be prepared, students can either ask a staff member once they get to the dining hall or they can email the dining hall manager in advance to have food prepared for a specific time. Mr. Derkrikorian is the manager at Warren Towers, Mr. Cacciatore is the manager at Marciano Commons, and Mr. Teixeira is the manager at West Campus.
Even with all these new improvements, BU Dining Services is still looking for ways to improve the dining experience for students following a gluten-free diet. Some ongoing projects include making all the rice in the dining hall gluten-free, labeling the gluten-free foods available throughout the dining halls, and stocking the pantries with items that students like the most. Both BU Dining Services and the Sargent Choice Nutrition Center are invested in creating a gluten-free friendly environment in the dining halls, and of course welcome any comments or suggestions from students.