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Gluten-Free Dorm Room Survival Tips

by Shelby Kaho from Celiacs in the House

When I come home for the weekend, I try to cram in as much time with my friends as I can, but Saturday night and Sunday before I head back to school, I get down to business and cook for a solid few hours preparing gluten-free food to put in my dorm room mini-fridge freezer. The menu usually consists of fried rice with lots of veggies, grilled or baked chicken cut into small slices, sautéed asparagus, black beans, sweet and sour sauce to put on the chicken and/or steak, ravioli with sauce, steak cut into strips and sautéed, pizza, French toast, and chocolate chip cookies. I pack everything in quart sized freezer bags that I fill halfway, release the air and flatten the contents. This makes everything flat and stackable. It also makes it easier to break off single servings if the food is in a thin layer and cut up into small pieces.

I also stock up my fridge with corn tortillas for microwave quesadillas, shredded cheese (I put this on rice bowls, quesadillas, etc…), fruit cups, microwaveable sausages, lunch meat, fruit smoothies, and kefir. I also have several drawers full of the items that don’t need to be refrigerated. Some of my staples are microwaveable rice, gluten-free pretzels, chips, bread, fruit snacks, and beef jerky.

My strategy is to cover the basics like protein and carbohydrate so that I know I won’t go hungry and will always have what I need available to me. I also keep a collection of spices and sauces to make things less monotonous. My favorites to keep on hand are tamari, mayonnaise, hot sauce, ketchup, mustard, garlic powder and chipotle powder.

Being paranoid about eating in the dining hall and keeping my freezer full of good food is key to my college success. As an athlete, I can’t always rely on the dining hall to get the nutrition I need. Keeping a good stockpile of safe, healthy food to fill in when meals are lacking, as a backup when practice goes late, or for when I have to cram for a test and don’t have time to go get something is vital. Taking risks with your health because it may be more convenient at the time just isn’t worth it. Sometimes you just have to get creative with gluten-free food, but make sure to always have a back up!
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January 23rd, 2012

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