Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post

The gluten-free guide to campus

The summer after my freshman year of college, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. The condition causes an immune reaction to gluten, which often results in the malabsorption of nutrients, damage to the small intestine and various unpleasant side effects. The only way to prevent any of these reactions and side effects is to go on a strict gluten-free diet. 

As a result, I could no longer eat foods that contain wheat, barley and rye. This proved difficult as I was returning to college, where many dining hall options contained gluten. Suddenly, pasta, bread, most cereals and other wheat products were off the table. 

But it was not all doom and gloom. My roommate and close friend, who also has Celiac disease, helped me better understand what this new diet would look like and which places in town were safe to eat at. 

So, without further ado, here is the gluten-free guide to Ohio University's campus: 

While the dining halls are not the best for gluten-free options for students, there are still a few. Namely, Boyd Dining Hall has an entire gluten-free section at Margaret's, located to the far right upon entering through the main entrance. Ask for an allergen sticker that will allow you to cut the line and be served first. It offers rice and gluten-free noodles and is typically stocked with gluten-free cookies, cakes and other baked goods. 

Similarly, Boyd Market also stocks gluten-free baked goods, all of which are wrapped individually to avoid cross-contamination.

Latitude 39, located in Baker University Center, features a variety of options without gluten-based ingredients. However, many are on the pricey side, making it less practical for everyday life. 

Speaking of Baker Center, there are also a few other gluten-free options located on the first floor. West 82 offers various meal options that do not contain gluten but are mostly limited to the salad bar and Verde Blanco. The adjoining bakery, Life is Sweet, occasionally offers gluten-free cake. However, this is not a daily occurrence. 

There are many more options for gluten-free foods outside of campus. Several restaurants on Court St. and State St. carry gluten-free options. Some of these establishments are well-known food chains, like Chipotle Mexican Grill. 

Others, however, are more local. Bagel Street Deli is a favorite amongst students, and for good reason. The menu offers a diverse array of entrees to suit the desires of their clientele. Among these is a plain gluten-free bagel, which is an additional dollar more when added to an order. They will sometimes be out of stock but are relatively consistent. 

Moving over to State St., Shade is one of the best restaurants for students on a gluten-free diet. It specializes in foods you would find at most bars and happy hours. However, they offer a completely separate gluten-free menu, complete with substitutions for many of their bread-based products. Suddenly, garlic bread, burgers and sandwiches are available to anyone who cannot eat gluten (and are pretty good, too).

Fluff Bakery also offers several gluten-free options for a small additional charge. Their website lists everything from savory pepperoni rolls to sweet muffins, cupcakes, brownies and cakes. However, cakes must be ordered in advance, especially gluten-free options.

Avalanche Pizza is also a fantastic choice for those on a gluten-free diet, offering cauliflower crusts as a substitute for wheat in their pizzas.

One of the best ways to seek out restaurants with gluten-free options is through the Find Me Gluten Free app, which is completely free on the app store. By setting the location to Athens, users can look through various restaurants' ratings of safety, taste and variety, as well as which restaurants have a dedicated gluten-free menu. 

However, for people living away from the ease of dining halls and without the funds to constantly eat out, living a healthy gluten-free lifestyle can be challenging. After all, gluten-free products tend to cost more than their counterparts. In fact, according to a 2019 study from the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, gluten-free foods cost about 183% more on average. But there are still ways to make it work.

Aldi is well known for its affordability, particularly in produce. However, the grocery chain also has a number of gluten-free products, ranging from baking mixes to macaroni and cheese to bread. These products, while still a bit pricier than the rest of the store, are rather cheap when compared to other grocery stores. 

Similarly, Walmart has a small but diverse selection of gluten-free products. While they cost significantly more than their standard counterparts, they are still affordable on a tight college budget. 

Alongside this, many websites list recipes that can make a little go a long way. A personal favorite of mine is Gluten Free on a Shoestring for its affordable and diverse recipe selections.

Living on a gluten-free diet can be limiting, but there are still a variety of options nearby that can make it easier. 


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH