If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, eating gluten free can seem like a monumental challenge, especially when you are relying on your college's food plan to accommodate your special diet. There are hidden sources of gluten in your college's dining hall: toasters that have gluten left over from someone else's bread, cereal containers that have leftover residue from another cereal that contains gluten, pans and pots that have gluten residue (gluten is a very sticky protein, and students who are very sensitive to gluten may have a reaction even if the pots and pans have been cleaned thoroughly.) Almost all colleges will offer students with celiac disease a special diet plan, although your food options will be more limited than other students on the normal meal plan. Considering that your health is at stake, it's important to discuss dining options with your school.
For students who live off campus and have their own kitchens, your options will be more extensive. Shopping at your local grocery store will make things easier, and more stores are labeling foods gluten free, while others have dedicated aisles for gluten free foods. If you are taking a lot of credits, and you don't have time to do weekly grocery shopping trips, there are food delivery options that may be available in your area. The popular meal delivery service Blue Apron will probably not work well for someone following a strict gluten free diet, as the gluten free meal selection is very limited. A better option would be to use a gluten free recipe that you like and have the ingredients delivered to your door. A good option for this is signing up for Amazon Fresh. By ordering ingredients from your favorite gluten free recipe, and cooking the food yourself, you will have full control over how the ingredients are handled, how they are cooked, thereby ensuring that your food is not contaminated by gluten. Amazon Fresh does not deliver to every zip code yet, so you will need to verify they deliver to your apartment or house. There is also an additional monthly charge on top of your Amazon Prime membership fee.
If you do not enjoy cooking, and find the process tedious, there are more and more pizza restaurants that are offering gluten free pizzas. If you are not extremely sensitive to gluten (there may still be some cross-contamination in the restaurant), ordering a gluten free pizza may work well for you. If you are a fan of Chinese food (again this might only work well if you are not super sensitive to gluten due to cross-contamination), order their steamed options. One of my favorites is steamed chicken and broccoli with white rice (I add my own cashews and soy sauce). My favorite gluten free soy sauce is San J organic Tamari .
If you're not too interested in ordering take-out pizza, there are some excellent frozen gluten free pizzas on the market today. My new favorite is California Pizza Kitchen, Gluten Free Margherita Frozen Pizza. This pizza just came out, so if you can't find it, UDIs frozen pizzas are also a good choice. For UDIs, I would recommend their Udi's, Gluten Free Pizza, Margherita, 10 oz (Frozen) or their Udi's, Gluten Free Pizza, Uncured Pepperoni, 10.1 oz (Frozen) . I was not a fan of their Udi's, Gluten Free Pizza, Three Cheese, 10 oz (Frozen). In my opinion, it was too dry and there wasn't enough cheese.
If you have celiac disease and you are attending college, there are more options now than in the past. You have to utilize all the options available, and you have to communicate clearly to the kitchen staff your dietary needs. If you are able to communicate clearly your dietary needs (no beating around the bush), kitchen workers will do their best to make sure you do not get sick. There are more and more people following a gluten free diet as a dietary fad (they don't have celiac disease or a gluten/wheat sensitivity), so others may not understand how important it is for you not to eat gluten. By being very clear that you will get sick when you eat gluten, kitchen workers will be more careful when preparing your food. Students with celiac disease can enjoy their meals while attending college.