Students with dietary restrictions struggle to find dining options

1845 at Memorial offers a "worry free" kitchen, designed for students with different dietary restrictions. Grace Fortier | Photographer

By Ana Ruiz Brictson | Staff Writer

Students with dietary restrictions who are living on campus struggle to find options to choose from in the dining halls.

Baylor features four dining halls: The Penland Crossroads, 1845 at Memorial, Brooks Great Hall and East Village Dining Commons. Students can choose to purchase a meal plan to have unlimited access to breakfast, lunch and dinner at these options.

Although these meal plans are not the only options students have for food at Baylor, freshmen are required to purchase a traditional meal plan membership because they are required to live on campus their first year.

Wiley sophomore Ava Dryden said that throughout her freshman year, she felt like there were not many options that accommodated her dietary restrictions. She is currently vegetarian and has a cashew allergy. Dryden said that at times, she preferred to cook in her room or in her dorm’s kitchen instead of going to the dining hall.

“I feel like they cared for the most part, but it was very limited,” Dryden said.

Baylor is partnered with Aramark — a food service provider that is in charge of the menus and has health and wellness resources for students with special dietary needs.

Dryden said the dining hall staff always did a great job of labeling foods that could contain products that some students could be allergic to or prefer not to consume.

Levelland senior Megan Latham said that for her, dining hall meals were never bad, even though she cannot consume anything with gluten. She said that in the dining halls, there were most likely several gluten-free options at the sandwich station and the pizza station.

Since she was used to cooking gluten-free meals back home, Latham said it was not difficult to cook her own once she moved off campus. She also said H-E-B has many pre-made gluten-free meals, which have made it easy for her to accommodate her dietary restrictions.

“Ever since I was diagnosed, I just accepted it as a part of my life, so I don’t get upset about it,” Latham said.

Although students with dietary restrictions have found that there are limited options for what they can eat in the dining halls while living on campus, there are alternative options like the school’s convenience stores, chain restaurants and coffee shops.