Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet while in college can be stressful for anyone. The situation is even more challenging for people with special dietary needs, particularly those who need to avoid gluten. Fortunately, there is some good news. Last week, the FDA issued a set of regulations governing gluten-free labeling.
These regulations are designed to provide greater food safety and to empower consumers to make informed choices about what they eat. In order to comply with these standards, food products will be required to fall within certain parameters in order to use the label “gluten-free.” Either foods will need to be made without the use of barley, rye, wheat and any ingredients derived from these grains or they will need to be processed in such a way that less than 20 parts per million of gluten remains in the finished product.
Foods labeled as “free of gluten”, “no gluten” and “without gluten” will be subject to the same standards. Companies have been given a year to ensure that their products are in line with these rules. The FDA estimates that over 90% of foods currently labeled as being free of gluten already meet these requirements.
This news should come as a big relief to people who need to watch their intake of gluten. This moment of relief is an excellent opportunity for college students to plan ahead for when times are more challenging. Here are some helpful strategies to maintain a gluten-free diet even during the busiest, hardest times, like finals week.
Find gluten-free alternatives to favorite foods and comfort foods. For example, there’s no need to completely eliminate macaroni and cheese from your diet. Simply replace the wheat macaroni with some corn or rice pasta.
Make sure to keep plenty of gluten-free snacks around. Many college students find themselves needing to throw together a meal in a rush when time is tight. This situation can easily lead to going out to grab some kind of fast food, like a burrito with a wheat tortilla. But when gluten-free snacks are readily accessible, it’s easier to avoid these temptations. Some excellent options include: nuts, fresh fruit, carrots and hummus.
Find other people who avoid gluten. Share meals together as often as possible. Most people find it easier to stick with their commitments when they’re around others who are doing the same thing. Participating in this kind of community can also help students find local restaurants with gluten-free options and learn about new foods and recipes.
Are you on a gluten-free diet? Udi’s, a top manufacturer of gluten-free foods, has put together a list of the top 10 most accommodating schools just for you. Check out the full article here!
#5 – Emory University
#7 – Ithaca College
#8 – Carleton College
#10 – Clark University
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