You might not know the best gluten-free foods to eat in the dining hall, but you don’t have to worry. Being gluten-free can definitely be challenging, but nowadays, most college campuses have tons of delicious and creative options that you can eat without feeling like you’re missing out. Some gluten-free foods are the healthiest for you and tend to disappear first because they are so popular.

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10. Nuts 

Sometimes dining halls will have packaged nuts for you to grab. There will often be a separate section for these foods because they want everyone to be advised that it has nuts and people who are allergic can stay clear. Some schools are nut-free, but then they will provide other pre-packaged gluten-free foods for you to try. If you’re lucky enough to have nuts or even nut butters, you can take some along with fruit or vegetables on the go for a healthy snack.

9. Beans 

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Usually, near the rice or salad stations, they will serve beans as a side because it goes well together and offers another form of protein. Beans are naturally gluten-free. They are a great source of fiber, protein, and vitamins. They will usually serve beans with multiple other main dishes since they can go well with anything. The dining hall can do pinto, black, red, or baked beans. 

8. Yogurts

Most all-natural dairy products are gluten free, so you can expect yogurt to be as well. You can expect the dining hall to have pre-packaged yogurt. It is a great choice to add to your breakfast or have as a snack.  Greek yogurt is also gluten-free as well if you enjoy plain yogurt with a larger amount of protein.

7. Rice 

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Personally, I love some rice and this is one of the best gluten-free foods to eat in the dining hall because they’ll always have some on the side. You can expect rice to be served more than once a month because it is easy to cook when you have many students to feed. It is an excellent gluten-free option because it pairs well with tons of flavors and can help you substitute for pasta dishes when that is being served. You can also get rice you can make in the microwave if you want to purchase it from the store and keep it in your room. 

6. Salmon (or available fish)

Salmon, or a similar fish like cod, is your best bet for gluten-free meat if you aren’t a chicken or beef eater. The dining hall usually has multiple protein sources each day, meaning they will have more than one meat option. You can look for salmon, which can be expensive, but they might serve it once or twice a month as a healthy treat. My school did it twice a month, and it was pretty good. It wasn’t fancy, but it filled me up and kept me on a gluten-free diet.

5. Vegetables 

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One of the best gluten-free foods to eat in the dining hall is vegetables. Duh! You will often see assorted vegetables on the menu whether it be cooked, grilled, or served raw in a salad. Then, you just have to find some kind of gluten-free dressing, which most dining halls offer. Some good options for cooked veggies are broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, and corn. You can usually find most of these items as side dishes to the main dish, depending on what they serve in the dining hall.

4. Potatoes 

Potatoes will often be an option for breakfast or dinner. When you go to the dining hall, see if there are home fries for breakfast. It’s a great gluten-free option and pairs well with eggs. They might not always serve it, but you can sometimes get baked or mashed potatoes at the dining hall, too. They switch it up, so you can always ask for a menu from the dining hall to know when they have the potatoes you like.

3. Meat 

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You will most likely see a choice of meat at your dining hall, whether chicken or beef. You don’t have to worry because it is always gluten-free. You won’t know if the seasoning is gluten-free, but you can ask for non-seasoned meat too. It just depends on where the ingredients are packaged and how they prepare the food. Your school will know more about the gluten content. If you’re extra sensitive, it’s always best to confirm.

2. Eggs 

Whether you get your eggs from the store or the dining hall at your school, eggs are naturally gluten-free, so you won’t have to worry about what brand the school is using. When going to the dining hall, you can always expect to have eggs as an option. Even if not breakfast time, they will often have pre-cooked hard boiled eggs to add to any meal. It is one o the foods you can always count on.

1. Fruits 

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Fruits are perfect to have when you want a gluten-free breakfast or dessert. They’ll usually have options like oranges, bananas, apples, and berries. It is best if you get to the dining hall early enough to ensure there are still options for the fruits available because it’s one of the most popular, fresh foods they offer. I would suggest grabbing one of each and saving some for later. It makes for the perfect gluten-free snack.

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We hope this helps break down what is gluten-free in the dining hall. It’s important to make sure you can still get nutrients while adhering to a gluten-free diet. If you’re still struggling to find the best gluten-free meals, try getting to the dining hall early in the morning so you can see all of the options that are available to you before the rush kicks in. And don’t forget, it can be helpful to speak with your dining hall manager or food coordinator to ensure you know which foods are guaranteed to be gluten-free and what their weekly menu looks like.