Requesting more gluten free options in the cafeteria


Photo Credit: Olivia Traphagen

Students stand in line waiting to purchase their lunches and snacks.

by Olivia Traphagen, senior staff writer

For all the gluten-free high school and middle school students, the cafeteria doesn’t really have much to offer. There is a variety of food choices for the non gluten free kids–some may forget that a percentage of the school may be gluten-free, as well.

What even is gluten? What is celiac disease, or gluten intolerance? What happens when kids eat it when they aren’t supposed to?

Gluten is a substance present in cereal grains, especially wheat, that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. A mixture of two proteins, it causes illness in people with celiac disease.

A gluten intolerance is less severe, but one who has this intolerance could have stomach pain or some other abnormal activity in the body. Overall, their body does not “like” gluten.

The cafeteria offers a salad bar, which is in fact gluten free. Some gluten-free snacks in the cafeteria include honey-nut Cheerios cereal, Chex cereal, potato chips, and kettle corn.

However, these options can become quite repetitive when faced every day.

Gluten-free foods such as gluten-free bagels, sandwiches (bread), chocolate chip cookies, and wraps would be very beneficial. This way, the majority of students in the school will be able to purchase lunch from the cafeteria.

Gluten-free students like juniors Mia Seibold, Sydney Carr, and Jordan Russo are tired of drooling over the smell of lunchroom cookies.

“I do think that the cafeteria should offer more gluten free options because some people have to buy lunch everyday and it’s not fair for those with allergies. If you’re gluten free and want to buy food from the cafeteria, you have very limited options,” Seibold said.

Seibold has had celiac disease for years, and it is hard for her to find foods she can eat in the cafeteria. Her classmate Russo has faced a similar problem. 

“I think there should be more gluten free options in the cafeteria because there aren’t many right now and more and more people are becoming gluten free. I am gluten free because of health reasons and I feel way healthier on a gluten free diet,” Russo said.

Sydney Carr thinks that there should be more gluten free offerings in the cafeteria. Her mom makes her lunch every day, but if she gets hungry or leaves her lunch at home, she doesn’t have many options in the cafeteria.

Michael Escalante, a physical education teacher, believes that going gluten free is a healthier way to live. Escalante believes that organic foods are the best. He thinks it would be a good idea to have as many gluten free options as possible, but the price does matter.

“If we could have a couple more options, I think that would be great, but I also understand the other side of it — usually the healthier the foods are, the more expensive they are, so we try to find ways to be healthy,” Escalante said.