Gluten-free students hungry for more on-campus options


BYU hosts branded restaurants and thousands of food and snack options. But the majority of these options are off the table for the nearly 1,000 students at BYU who are gluten free, gluten intolerant, or have Celiac Disease, according to BYU Dining Services Dietitian Diane Morrow.

Dietetics student Katie Cole is severely intolerant to gluten. She said while she is fine now, she had a hard time navigating safe food options as a freshman.

Sophomore dietetics student Katie Cole takes special care to select meals and snacks that are gluten-free. (Braden Lanham)

“It was kind of hard because it was my first time being on my own,” Cole said.

Cole had a student meal plan as a freshman and frequently ate at the Cannon Center. She said they had gluten-free food options, but she had to ask for them or ask for an alteration or substitute an entree.

“It’s uncomfortable, because you always have to ask,” Cole said. 

Cole said she talked to a dietician at the Cannon Center when she first arrived as a freshman. The dietician told her what things to look out for and who she could talk to if she had any questions about the food.

Now a sophomore without a meal plan, Cole said she rarely eats on campus because she feels there are not enough on-campus options, and she is more comfortable preparing meals at home.

Katie Gantt, a senior in the public relations program from Bozeman, Montana, also has a high gluten intolerance.

Gantt said she also felt like her diet was pretty limited as a freshman on a meal plan. The number of gluten-free options varies depending on the location, according to Gantt.

“They have a little fridge for allergies in the Cannon Center with all the foods marked with what allergies they have,” Gantt said. “Up at the Cougareat, you have to kind of pick through.” 

Morrow said the Cannon Center has more options than other restaurants on campus, but if gluten-intolerant students ask for a manager or chef in any given area, they can also assist.

Morrow said BYU Dining Services strives to make sure gluten-free students are accommodated and their needs are met.

“They can always call me or email me if they ever have any questions,” Morrow said.

Morrow offered a list of options across various locations on BYU campus:

Creamery on Ninth has a stand with gluten-free products that students can purchase.

Jamba Juice in the Wilkinson Center offers gluten-free snacks.

At Legends Grille, students can order gluten-free items: hamburger patties, chicken breasts, grilled salmon and salads without tortilla strips.

The Cougareat has several areas, including Cougar Express, that offer different gluten-free products such as Kind Bars and GoPicnic Ready-to-Eat Meals. Gluten-free soups are also served on rotation.

Students can check the websites of branded restaurants such as Subway, Taco Bell and Chick-fil-A for information on gluten-free options.

At Scoreboard Grill, students can request a hamburger on green leaf lettuce.

Gluten-free concessions are available at football games, including pulled pork sandwiches on gluten-free buns, hot dogs on gluten-free buns and gluten-free brownies.

The Cannon Center has more gluten-free options than other areas. Many substitutes are available, including gluten-free buns, breads, cereals and desserts.

 Students can find gluten-free pasta and marinara sauce in the Cannon Center expo area. Students can also get meat or vegetables from the salad area to add to the pasta sauce, according to Morrow.

“Students should also check the Facebook page of the CougareatBlue Line and Legends Grille for more information on gluten-free menu choices,” Morrow said.

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