If you’re like me and were genetically blessed with a body that rejects gluten — or even if you’re one of those people who has helped make my life easier by choosing to make “GF” a fad — then you’ve probably found that visiting or moving to a new place can be nerve-racking. My entire family is gluten-free, so eating GF at home is easy. Coming to Dartmouth, I was pretty nervous about what my options would be here. However, after some trial and error, I found that being gluten-free in college is actually a piece of cake — gluten free cake that is:) So, here is my gluten-free guide to Dartmouth.  
The "Random Acts of Kindness" club at Dartmouth had written encouraging notes on all the stir-fry containers, adding an extra bit of sunshine to my day.   

1. Collis Cafe has the best gluten-free options

The cooks and managers at Collis are incredible, which is one of the many reasons I usually eat at least 2 meals a day there. For lunch, my go-to is chicken and vegetable stir-fry with brown rice, gluten-free teryaki and Thai peanut sauce, and, if I'm feeling fancy, a fried egg on top. Because not all the sauces they use are gluten-free (i.e. most soy sauces contain gluten), they have special red-handle pans just for me and other gluten-free students that are kept separate and have never had contact with gluten. The cooks are arguably some of the nicest guys you'll meet, and they know my order by heart. All I have to do is show up, and they usually have the pan out and on the stove before I even get to the front of the line. For dinner, their pasta is delicious! I usually have them stir-fry some vegetables, add in a scoop of gluten-free pasta, and finish it off with marinara sauce and red pepper flakes. Again, they only use the red-handle gluten-free pan for me, which makes not worrying about cross contamination really easy!  
The red handle means that the pan is only used for gluten-free food preparation! The cooks are great about making sure not to cross-contaminate.
 

2. Foco lists ALL allergens

The Class of 1953 Commons, or "foco" as students call it, has flat screen TVs above each food station that list every possible allergen in the dishes. You can access this information online, as well. This has been incredibly helpful in navigating all the food options that exist at foco, our main dining hall. In addition to the gluten free station, you can even order GF pancakes, pizza, pasta, etc. in advance!

My foco dinner of grilled chicken, sauteed spinach, quinoa pilaf, and sweet potato & quinoa chili hit the spot.

3. Most events will have a GF option

In an attempt to make all events as inclusive as possible, most departments, clubs, etc. will have a gluten-free option if they are serving food! If you're unsure, you can send an email in advance. I have never emailed someone and had them not make accommodations! When you're running low on DBA, just want a meal from off-campus, or are genuinely interested in the subject of a dinner discussion, having gluten-free options provided can make a huge difference.  
Side note: King Arthur Flour Cafe has the best GF Almond-Cloud Cookies. Combine that with iced apple cider, and it's the perfect fall treat!
 

4. You can get on the gluten-free list!

When I first arrived my freshman fall, I had a meeting with one of the nutritionists at Dartmouth to discuss the options available to someone who is gluten and lactose intolerant. During this meeting, she laid out the options at all the dining places on campus, gave me the code to the gluten-free refrigerator in Foco that contains tons of GF bread, muffins, brownies, and bagels, and put me on a gluten-free email list for "late-night" food options. I typically receive an email once a week letting me know what GF goodies I can expect to find at late night that week.  
Emails like these help me know what GF foods to expect at Late Night at Collis. They are always open to suggestions!
 

So, I am happy to say that being gluten-free in college is doable! The nutritionists and chefs here are incredibly helpful and accommodating— and they'll even make something special for you if you bring in a favorite gluten-free recipe:)

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