Having Celiac disease, living on campus terrified me. I was afraid of not having anything to eat, not being able to easily nourish myself, and ultimately, I was terrified of sharing a tight space with someone who wasn’t Celiac (the fear of cross-contamination is real).
While there were many factors that played into my decision to commute to college, one of them was definitely the ease and access to safely prepared meals.
Because both my mother and I are Celiac, our whole household is gluten-free.
Sweet, sweet, peace of mind.
Then I realized commuting to campus brought on a slur of new problems!
What helped? Having my top Gluten-Free College Commuter Essentials in my toolbox!
My Top Gluten-Free College Commuter Essentials
Lunch Box / Mini Kitchen
This is my absolute top must! I always carry around a lunch box stocked with the essentials. These might vary depending on your needs but what is always in mine is:
∇ A Small Cutting Board
This is vital! I can not stress this enough. Sometimes dishes will require a little bit of preparation on site (for either food safety reasons or time constraints). An example of this might be slice an avocado into a salad before eating (or even having to assemble the entire salad before eating because you didn’t have time to prepare it before leaving the house).
I usually have a butter knife, forks, and spoons to ensure I am using safe silverware when eating. The knife also goes with the cutting board in case my lunch involves preparation on site.
∇ Reusable Drinking Straws
I care about the environment and you should too!
∇ Small containers of powdered creamer
(your girl likes coffee okay?)
∇ Sample packets of protein powders
(in case I need a quick meal and forgot to pack)
∇ Tea Packets
You never know when you’ll need a cup (whether it be to aid in digestion or just calm your nerves). It’s nice to have tea on hand that you trust.
Snacks are important. I can’t stress this enough. They can be the difference between you eating too much at your next meal, and eating the right amount.
Also, no one enjoys a hangry student or friend and when it comes to options on campus, it’s usually slim pickings. Because of this, it’s important to come prepared and bring your own snacks.
I am not sponsored by any of these brands but they are attached to affiliate links to Amazon.
While this might seem like an obvious thing to list, I am listing it as a friendly reminder that hydration is important. The average adult needs 8 cups of fluid a day. I see a huge difference in my academic performance when I bring and have access to water versus when I don’t.
A Fridge on Campus
If possible, you should try to see if you can have access to a fridge on campus. A lot of gluten-free foods and lunch items require to stay cold in order to remain safe to eat. Having a fridge to store your foods in order to keep them at the right temperature can make things so much easier.
How to find one?
– As a nutrition student, I was privy to have access to the fridges in the hospitality department. On occasion, I’d work out a space to store my food for long days on campus with my hospitality professors.
– Office spaces with shared kitchenettes on campus are an option too. As a volunteer for my college’s social media department, I had access to a fridge and employee lounge. This allowed me to store my food safely in a fridge without worry.
While my personal access to fridges was due to the circumstances I found myself in, I highly encourage you to discuss with your advisor or campus officials to see if you can have similar access. I’d explain my situation and condition and see if there is anywhere you can safely keep your food.
While not an exhaustive list of things that I used to cope as a commuter college student, hopefully, it’s helpful!
Have any tips you’d like to add to this? Comment down below! I’d love to hear them.
Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.