Written by Amiee Laurence
Eating at college can be a logistical nightmare: not only are you usually on a shoestring budget, but finding the time to do it can be the biggest headache. Dining halls can take away a lot of the inconvenience, of course, but it is impractical, and expensive, to dine out for every single meal. Plus, cooking can be great fun, especially if you share the activity with friends and roommates, taking turns to create meals for each other. Food should be something you take time over if possible, but we all understand the practicalities of college.
Allergies or intolerances, both on the rise, sometimes discourage people from cooking, however. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, is a particular issue for a growing number of people. Celiac disease, which an estimated 1% of the U.S.population suffers from, is a disorder which prevents people from eating gluten. Consumption of gluten causes an immune system response which inflames and damages the small intestine, leading to all manner of stomach issues. Fortunately, the gluten-free food market is a growing industry, so it is easier than ever to source gluten-free ingredients.
“The main food items that celiacs must avoid are bread, pasta, and baked goods (such as cakes and pies), soups, cereals and a whole host of sources that contain flour. That is a lot of common foods that are off the menu (and would constitute a whole host of people’s breakfast diet, for example),” says Annabelle Kristin, a nutrition expert at Academized and Revieweal.
But preparing gluten-free meals is now easier than ever with clearly marked ingredients and growing gluten-free product ranges. All you need now are the recipe ideas to get you inspired.
Breakfast can be a particularly tough meal for celiacs due to our propensity in the west for bread and cereals for this particular meal. However, these ideas are healthy and gluten-free alternatives
Avocado and eggs
Ensure you get a rich blend of vitamins and minerals with this delicious breakfast option, and just leave out the toast (but you could of course introduce some gluten-free bread if you wish, or gluten-free tortillas). Avocados are one of the best foods for you as they are full of vitamins (C, E, K, and B-6) and other minerals such as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. They also contain natural fats which are great for an energy release so early in the day. Similarly, eggs are rich in a whole host of vitamins, and you can prepare them exactly to your taste.
Another tasty breakfast feast is this variation on the crowd’s favorite breakfast burrito. Gluten-free tortillas can be a little inflexible, however, so why not use collard leaves or another kind of large leaf to hold all the ingredients. You could even go completely without the outer casing and just eat it with a spoon – the blend of ingredients can be amended for taste, and it’s a truly delicious way to start the day.
Gluten-free breakfast muffins
Who says you can’t enjoy a bit of baking if you are a celiac? “Breakfast muffins need not be off the menu if you are avoiding gluten thanks to the incredible array of gluten-free baking ingredients now available in all well-known food stores,” says Diana Smith, a health blogger at Essay Services and Best British Essays. Pack them full of fruit such as blueberries or raspberries and you really have the perfect start to the day, and they are fun to make too, and don’t take much baking time at all.
For lunch and dinner
If you are looking for something substantial to give you all the energy you need to continue embracing college life and all the activities that involve, here are some great meal ideas that are happily gluten-free.
Chicken Cordon Bleu
This amazingly tasty dish combines chicken, cauliflower, ham and cream to create a gluten-free piece of heaven. The cream and swiss cheese ingredients combine to create a delicious gluten-free sauce, which covers the chicken, ham, and cauliflower. Add garlic, Dijon mustard and chives to complete the mix, and use pork rinds as a crunchy topping to replace the usual breadcrumbs, and you have a complete dish in one. Just add salt and pepper to taste.
Gluten-free mac and cheese
This is an American favorite, and a college favorite to boot, so it’s good to know as a celiac you can still enjoy this old classic. Simply replace the pasta with a gluten-free variety, of which there are now many (for example, try Banza chickpea pasta) and then replace the floury sauce with carrot puree, the kind that you would give to babies, as a great-tasting alternative. Add your spices and seasoning to taste, and you’ve got an unbelievably tasty gluten-free alternative. Who said you couldn’t enjoy pasta?
Potato and leek soup
Soups are incredibly easy to make, store well, fill you up, and are cheap: as a college student, what’s not to like? Well, as a celiac, the gluten, obviously, but as long as you use a broth-based recipe,, then you have a winner. All you need is 4 large potatoes,2 leeks, and 6 cups of vegetable broth. Add a little butter and seasoning to taste, and in under an hour, you have a delicious and healthy soup which you can keep refrigerated and attack when you want. Simple and tasty.
And a little something for dessert, because you deserve it too.
Gluten-free and vegan-friendly lemon cheesecake
This dish can be ready in as little as 15 minutes, which is great for busy college students. For the base, you simply need coconut oil and then crushed dates and almonds. For the topping, you simply need almond milk (a celiac’s best friend), crushed cashews, two juiced lemons and then some agave syrup and coconut oil. Simple ingredients combined to a delicious and easy end. Indulge yourself with this tasty dessert what’s great for sharing with friends.
Cook and food blogger Aimee Laurence can be found contributing recipe ideas and food advice at Big Assignments and Assignment Help. Food is her passion, and her exciting tips and insights can help you discover a new and inspiring diet. Also, Aimee blogs at OX Essays academic portal. This article is neither sponsored nor paid and any views or services expressed in it are by the author and not those of the Stony Brook Independent.