Coming to college, I know one of the things I was the most nervous about was what was I going to eat? Having always lived at home with mom or dad cooking, I was very unsure if I would like the food and even more so if I would be able to eat it. See, I have food allergies and I was petrified that I wouldn’t be able to eat anything. I am allergic to preservatives, mainly preservatives that are found in any mass-produced meats. I have to eat freshly cooked meats that aren’t designed for long shelf lives and I was very worried that I wouldn’t have any options. I quickly found that this wasn’t the case when I got to school. There are so many amazing food options at RIT that I had no problem finding things I could eat. I want to highlight some of them in this blog to help others with allergies or food restrictions.
Going into my fourth year I have had plenty of time to explore the various food options and here, in my opinion, are the best:
Gracie’s Simply Eats
As a freshman, you will be eating at Gracie’s. This was what I was most nervous about as it is more of a buffet style, but there is an amazing station called Simply Eats. This is an allergen specific station where they have tons of vegetarian, gluten free and other options. I ate here a lot and just like all the other stations they offer different things every day. Gracie's also has a fairly large salad bar that is always a good option if nothing else is looking good to you that day. A trick I used a lot as well was at the grill station - you can get a simple piece of grilled chicken that is perfect for putting on salads!
Brick City Café
Brick City Café is still my favorite place to eat on campus to this day. The salad bar at Brick City is the best on campus. There are multiple types of lettuce, toppings, and dressings which you can combine to easily make a very filling meal. They even have grilled chicken in this salad bar that was safe for me to eat. Also at Brick City, they have a station where you can make a peanut butter and jelly, this may sound silly but it was a life savior for me when I needed a quick lunch and didn’t want a salad. It was a sure-fire thing that I knew was safe to eat. I also highly recommend that you check out Brick City breakfast! You can get fresh-made pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, egg sandwiches, etc. and it is to die for.
Ritz Sports Zone
One of my absolute favorite things to eat on campus is found at Ritz and is called the pasta bake (although, if you are trying to eat healthy, I advise not eating one of these every day - generally, I’ll get one once a month or so). The pasta bake is a delicious mixture of the pasta, sauce(s) and toppings of your choosing assembled in front of you and then topped with cheese and baked. At Ritz, they also have a station where they will make you a salad with the toppings you choose. Ritz is a good spot to find pizza as well, they have the classic cheese and pepperoni and they also have a special pizza every day (I can’t eat this but I’ve been told it is delicious!).
These are my favorite places to eat and some of my favorite options for my specific allergy, which I know is rare, but that doesn’t mean that this advice isn’t helpful to someone with a common allergy like nuts. My roommate freshman year had a very serve peanut allergy and she was able to eat with even more ease than me. RIT is allergy friendly and they want to help you find food you can eat!
My final tip for eating with allergies or dietary restrictions is to take advantage of the dieticians that are available on campus if you are struggling. Coming to college and not being able to eat everything that is offered can be hard and scary. There are resources available that want to help you, they can help you make your diet healthier and even help you find safe food options. I have never gone hungry here at RIT and I am thankful every day for the effort that is made to accommodate us with dietary restrictions.