The gluten-free guide to on-campus dining

Gabriella Labi

If you have celiac disease, are gluten intolerant,or choose to live a gluten-free lifestyle you probably already know the difficulty of finding food you can actually eat. Here at Vanderbilt, you have to face being away from home and not having your Mom by your side at all times telling you what you can and cannot eat. To make this transition easier, here are 10 dining hacks that will make you feel full, and put your mind at ease.

1. Allergen-free refrigerators in Rand and Commons

In both Rand and Commons there are refrigerators stocked with gluten free muffins, cookies and bread. Sometimes breakfast options can be hard to find on campus, but these quick grab and go options will save you time when you are rushing to class.

2. Munchie is your friend

Everyone who goes to Vanderbilt is familiar with Munchie Marts. If you didn’t know, these are little market style spots where you can use your meal swipes and meal money to buy snacks, fruit, milkshakes and microwavable meals. It gets better! There are so many gluten free options to choose from. In fact, there is an entire section just for gluten free food. If you are craving Mac & Cheese or a burrito, go to Munchie. Popular brands include Amy’s, Saffron Road and evol. It will be your lifesaver during your time at Vanderbilt.

3. Use the dining app to your advantage

This is a must! The dining app may seem complicated and unappealing to use at first, but the more you use it the easier it becomes to navigate. Not only does the dining app provide you with menus for each dining area, it also allows you to email the dining staff and place orders that are ready for pick up. Kissam is a really good spot on campus to pre-order food and it is a way to skip really long lines and save you time. All you have to do is submit your order to the dining staff telling them the time you want to pick up your food, and that you have an allergy or intolerance to gluten. Voila! Super easy.

4. Make your own salad and ask for a piece of grilled chicken

Most people don’t know about this one but it’s super convenient and allows you to get in an extra dose of protein with your meal. Just ask for some chicken at either Rand or Commons without the bun and place it on top of a salad.

5. Bowls, Bowls, Bowls

I’ll take quinoa with steak, roasted vegetables, tomatoes, guacamole  and kale please! The new bowls in Rand are heavenly. If you are looking for a healthy, yet tasty lunch, bowls are the way to go. Read all about them here.

6. Don’t be scared to ask questions

It can be embarrassing or annoying to ask questions about what each food product contains, but in most cases, asking questions will lead you to finding more food options. Members of the campus dining staff will help you navigate through the gluten-free options offered on campus.

7. Randwich? I’ll pass. Rand-wraps are the move.

“Sandwich” is a foreign word for those who live a gluten-free lifestyle. At times it may be hard to find something substantial enough to make it through the day without feeling hungry. Luckily, at the Rand sandwich station there are corn tortilla wraps that are completely gluten free and also delicious too. There are several choices of meats, including turkey, chicken and tuna in addition to vegetables and spreads, such as spinach, tomatoes and hummus. If you want something that will keep you full until dinner, I’d suggest getting one of these.

8. Keep snacks in your room

This one’s pretty self explanatory. It is always better to be safe than sorry and sometimes you are going to get too busy to have a full meal. Keeping apples, oranges, popcorn, Kind bars, Quest bars and other gluten free snacks that you can munch on during the day will keep you from going hungry when you’re cramming for that exam you totally forgot about. Remember, you can grab many of these items at any of the Munchie Marts on campus.

9. Be a proud member of Gluten-Free at Vandy

Big shoutout to the Gluten-Free at Vandy club. This is a really fun and informative club to be a part of. Not only do you get to go to very nice restaurants for dinner during the year (for free), they also provide a lot of information on how to maneuver campus dining. They also have a significant impact when it comes to issues with gluten-free dining at Vanderbilt, so if you have any suggestions reach out to them!

10. Go Out & Explore Nashville

There are so many amazing restaurants that serve gluten free food and have gluten free options. Instead of doing the digging yourselves, I did some of the digging for you. Here are some of the best restaurants with gluten-free options that will literally blow your tastebuds away:

  • Amot Eatery: A Matter of Taste

  •  The Wild Muffin

  • Mellow Mushroom

  • Little Octopus

  • Italian Pizza and Pasta

  • Acme Feed and Seed

  • The Pfunky Griddle

  •  Cantina Laredo

  • Burger Up

  • Melting Pot