Day in My Life: Gluten Free Edition

April 26, 2023

Join me for the day as a gluten-free gopher navigating the highs and lows of having dietary restrictions in college. 

When I began college in 2019, I was overwhelmed by the idea of managing my Celiac Disease as a student. I didn’t feel I had many resources to keep myself safe and healthy. Through trial and error and many moving days, I’ve found what works and what doesn’t. Join me for the day as a gluten-free gopher navigating the highs and lows of having dietary restrictions in college. 

What is Celiac Disease?

1 in 100 people worldwide has Celiac Disease, but only about 30% are accurately diagnosed. When people with CD consume gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley, their body enacts an immune response that bombards the small intestine. This can prohibit the body from adequately processing nutrients, keeping them from being absorbed into the body. CD can develop at any age and, when left untreated, may result in significant health problems. There are over 200 symptoms associated with CD, and those living are exposed to many long-term health conditions. The only cure for CD is a strict gluten-free diet. 

What I eat in a day 

Breakfast: My day began with a go-to favorite of mine, the GF Coffee Cake Muffins from Trader Joe’s. I paired this scrumptious breakfast muffin with berries and a cup of Yogi’s ginger tea in my favorite mug. It’s the little things! Mid-morning usually consists of a peanut butter banana smoothie with PB2, a frozen banana, and a milk alternative. Sometimes I throw in some hazelnut spread or honey. 

breakfast gluten free

Lunch: Ol’ reliable! After returning home from my morning classes, I usually gravitate towards this easy and filling turkey pesto wrap. I switch it up, but this meal always includes Mission Spinach Gluten Free Tortillas, Trader Joe’s Vegan Kale, Cashew, and Basil Pesto, a schmear of mayonnaise, and Oscar Meyer’s Deli Fresh Honey Smoked Turkey. I’ll add whatever I have in my arsenal when  I can score some produce via a trip to the grocery store or Nutritious U’s monthly events.– usually tomatoes, avocados, arugula, or spinach. I pair the wrap with a handful of chips and another cup of tea.

gluten free lunch

Snack: Before I head to my afternoon class, I brew a quick cup of coffee and throw it in my thermos with some honey and almond milk. Before heading out the door, I usually snack on kettle corn or potato chips.

Dinner: My favorite dinner is one I eat several times a week. This masterpiece includes air-fried tofu, cherry tomatoes, arugula, sriracha, mayo, ranch powder, garlic powder, and a frozen bag of microwave brown rice from Trader Joe’s. I enjoy this while catching up with friends or giving my mom a call. After a busy day, it’s nice to unwind over a delicious dinner.

gluten free dinner

Dessert: Nearly every night, I enjoy a ‘banana boat,’ a dessert dubbed by an old friend of mine when we were kids. If I don’t have bananas, I’ll swap them out for strawberries or raspberries. After grabbing a bowl, I’ll throw in a handful of chocolate chips and a few marshmallows. I heat the pair until warm and fluffy and then throw in my fruit of choice and top with whipped cream. It has never led me wrong!

Campus Life

Since moving off-campus with understanding and helpful roommates, eating gluten-free has become much easier. As a freshman, I was overwhelmed with a lack of labeled food and an allergen-free station that didn’t suit my preferences or necessary precautions. Luckily, the university has a few different options for dietitians, which can be very helpful. Boynton Health offers dietician appointments, as does M Food Co. 

Options on campus change with general supply chain adjustments, but my go-to's include Chipotle, Qdoba, Minnesota Marketplace, Nautical Bowls, and JJ’s Poke. Planning is key! 

College brings a multitude of lifestyle adjustments, especially for those with dietary restrictions. It isn’t always easy or simple, but it is doable (and delicious!) with a bit of practice, patience, and help. Boynton Health offers nutritional recommendations tailored to your diet and lifestyle, from meal prep and planning to grocery shopping organization. Set up an appointment today! 

Written by: Gracie Kibort

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