Top Five Products for Gluten-Free Dorm Life

Written by Emily Wagener. Emily is an Udi’s Campus Ambassador at Clemson University. She is currently a senior studying food science with an emphasis in product development and has been an avid fan of Udi’s products for years.

College, in short, is amazing. The ratio of freedom to responsibilities is optimal, there are new friends to be had everywhere, and drinking a pot of coffee at 9:00pm in preparation for an all-nighter is completely acceptable. This grandiose adventure can present a variety of challenges for those with gluten intolerance, however, from the ubiquitous presence of pizza at campus events to dealing with the management at dining halls.

My own gluten-free challenge at Clemson University was more intense than I was expecting. I had the option of going to schools where the dining halls would have catered to my every need, but Clemson offered me great scholarships that were hard to pass up. I strode into my first meeting with the campus nutritionist thinking I could easily persuade him into accommodating me, but I was unfortunately wrong. Although he was polite, he told me that Celiac disease “didn’t really exist” and that there “just wasn’t ever going to be a demand” for gluten-free products. Ouch.

Of course I wasn’t going to let this setback upset me too much. Since a meal plan was required for all freshmen, I chowed down on countless salads without complaint and armed myself with plenty of goodies in my dorm room. Living in such small spaces can be difficult with the lack of a kitchen, but the following five items are essentials for college students on a gluten-free diet:

Gluten Free Granola

  1. Udi’s Gluten-Free Granola: Udi’s Granola is amazing, especially when you roll out of your lofted bed five minutes before class starts and need to pack a quick breakfast that can be eaten by the handful as you trod your way across campus to an 8:00am class. My personal favorite is the cranberry flavor!
  • Thai Kitchen “Ramen” Noodles: There’s no denying it—ramen noodles are one of the staple items in any college kid’s diet. Luckily, Thai Kitchen makes an “instant rice noodle soup” that is an adequate substitute.
  • Mixed Nuts: They’re shelf stable and essential sources of energy-providing nutrients. Mix ‘em up with Udi’s Granola for an even more flavorful snack for early mornings or late nights in the library!
  • Glutenfreeda Frozen Burritos: Having a freezer the size of a shoebox in a dorm room can be difficult. Sharing it with a roommate who may not respect your need for space can be even more so! These burrito packets are relatively small and make delicious lunches in between classes.
  • Udi’s Cookies: These are the perfect way to brighten your day after a long marathon of lectures, exams, lab, or some awful combination of all three. I also make sure to pack them in my bag when going to campus events laden with desserts like gluten-filled cookies and cupcakes.


How do/did you deal with eating gluten-free at college? What other foods are great to keep in a dorm room?

28 responses to “Top Five Products for Gluten-Free Dorm Life”

  1. Courtney C says:

    I always have glutino pretzels and crackers on hand as well as tuna. Chips and salsa are also a staple food in my room. I share an apartment with 3 other girls that are not gluten free which is difficult but there are so many options out there now! I am also very luck that my dining hall is very celiac friendly. We have our own section of the kitchen with pasta, frozen meals, Udi’s pizza crust, bread, and bagels! All of the staff also change their gloves and we have our own toster and microwave. They also label all of their food as gluten free or that it contains gluten. Sure they mess up sometimes but it is very uncommon. Rock chalk dining is so gluten free friendly. I am having a great gluten free college experience after the initial 2 weeks of shock and thinking I can’t eat anything of course!

  2. Beth K says:

    Nut Thins, GF cookies, canned or carton GF soups, rice cakes and peanut butter, fruit, carrots…..

  3. Deb van pelt says:

    I’d eat alot of popcorn and luna, think thin bars….yum.

  4. Sarah Dugo says:

    I wasn’t diagnosed until after college but, I would have kept grab & go snacks for myself, for late night studying or early morning rush to classes. Fruit, GF bagels, GF cereal, GF granola bars, GF pretzels, GF cookies.

  5. Karen says:

    Apples are great this time of year!

  6. Traci Barnwell says:

    This is great idea if you have LOTS of money! Definitely not possible on a college students budget!

  7. Anne Wilson says:

    My daughter is a freshman at Hope College and they offer Gluten free meals. They are awesome! If they have pasta for dinner they will have gluten free pasta.

  8. Mindy Stoltz says:

    My daughter’s college choice was influenced by the open-armed welcome she received from the staff at Earlham College. She survived college dorm life with a mid-sized fridge with separate freezer and a quesadilla maker. She made pizza quesadillas with brown rice tortillas, sauce, pepperoni and cheese. She could keep some frozen meals and also made Annie’s GF mac and cheese.

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