Being a college student consists of many worries and stressors whether it be classes, homework or extra curricular activities, but one thing people often forget is the importance of a healthy diet.
Eating cafeteria food every day three times a day isn't the healthiest of choices for your body. Being an athlete, this was something I was very aware of. I began to notice that eating café food not only made workouts less effective, but made my body feel crappier during the day.
Coming into college, I thought food was the last thing I'd have to worry about, which I suppose freshman year it wasn't so bad -- I used my best judgment and ate what I could, just to get use out of my meal plan. Coming into sophomore year, it was a completely different story. Over the course of the summer, I went to a doctors visit and found out I had a high gluten allergy. This made things even more difficult when it came time to go back to school in the fall, because even though I chose the few healthy options the school café had ... even these options contained gluten. A simple lunch like a cup of soup and a sandwich became much more complex. Therefore, I was basically paying thousands of dollars a year for a meal plan just to go into Ritchie and eat a salad.
To make matters even more complicated, I had two roommates, one of which was a vegetarian, the other with Celiac disease, which is an intestinal disease you're diagnosed with at birth, due to the consumption of gluten (a lot more severe than a gluten allergy/intolerance). So what do three college girls with very strict diets do in this case?!
We decided that since we lived in an environment on campus that we were perfectly able to cook in, we would just prepare our own meals. None of us had ever really cooked our own meals before, other than the typical Mac N Cheese, or anything microwavable, let alone gluten free meals. Needless to say, we thought we had "bitten off more than we could chew." BUT it ended up being a lot easier (and more fun) than we had originally thought!
If you're on a gluten-free diet, vegetarian or just wanting to switch to a healthier lifestyle -- here are some suggestions to help you while on campus!
On campus- If you're still looking to eat on campus and use your meal plan, keep an eye out in Ritchie for the vegetarian options that are usually by the salad bar. Also, other than just eating a salad, you could go to the Mongolian BBQ and just get vegetables with no rice. Caine Student Center also had little things "To Go" such as, jello, fruit cups and vegetable bites.
Dominoes, gives you the option of ordering gluten-free pizza, made the same way as any other pizza with your choice of toppings.
ZZ's bar and grill, offers tilapia, salmon and salad dishes
Jimmy Johns lettuce wrap, allows you to order any sub, but substituting the bread with iceberg lettuce.
Sauce Restaurant, offers mushrooms in replacement for meat
Grocery Shopping- Meijer, Walmart and Country Market all have gluten-free sections. Country Market has the largest selection of gluten-free products, although Meijer does have a larger selection than most, it is a little more expensive. Country Market also has multiple days a month when they bring in companies to sell fresh seafood.
Top Gluten Products (make sure to look for "Gluten Free" in the name!):
These companies offer everything you'll need from noodles, to pancakes, waffles, muffins, rice, cereal, cookies and brownies. You'll be able to make almost anything you would using regular ingredients with these same products!