Gluten-free, college style: Where to eat at Stanford

Oct. 21, 2011, 12:34 a.m.
Gluten-free, college style: Where to eat at Stanford
Courtesy of MCT

Eating gluten-free–whether it’s due to allergy, intolerance or sensitivity–can feel a lot like rolling the dice, even in the safety of one’s own home.  To both people who avoid gluten and those who don’t, it seems to be hidden in nearly every food imaginable. With the added complication of trying to feed yourself at college, the challenge can become exponentially worse. To help demystify the process, here’s a comprehensive guide to the best gluten-free options on and off campus.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods is the be-all and end-all. Of all the places on this list, this is the best place to stock up if you have the time, means and ability to get there. They stock a huge selection of brands and goods. Some of my favorites include Glutino chocolate-covered pretzels, Glutino sandwich cookies, Schar crackers, Udi’s breads and bagels, different flavors of Puffins and Envirokidz Pandapuffs. Frozen goodies include delicious, gluten-free waffles, pancakes and donuts. WF stocks its own brand of gluten-free bread and baked goods as well. It is a gluten-free paradise.

Trader Joe’s

TJ’s is a standby for many gluten-free goods and can be a great source given its proximity. They typically have gluten-free cereal (usually Puffins and sometimes Envirokidz cereal), some types of rice noodles and pastas (including Annie’s instant bowls), as well as frozen goods like tamales that are gluten-free. The gluten-free pancakes are a must-have as well. Definitely worth a bike trip to Town and Country.


Amazon can be a spectacular resource for buying gluten-free food. The website has several of the Udi’s products (which I highly recommend), as well as gluten-free cereals (Puffins in particular) and Annie’s gluten-free cookies and pasta. Search the dedicated gluten-free store in the grocery section for the full selection. Very convenient, especially with Amazon student shipping.

Gluten-free, college style: Where to eat at Stanford
Courtesy of MCT

Market at Munger

The Market at Munger has one of the more extensive selections of gluten-free options that I have seen on campus. On one trip I saw Lucy’s cookies and Pamela’s cookies (both of which are admittedly crumbly and only so-so in my opinion), Nana’s ginger and lemon cookies (which are dense, but relatively satisfying), Bionaturae pasta (which I have yet to try) and Annie’s instant pad thai (a good instant meal), which are all gluten-free. The big treat they have here, though, is the instant Glutenfreeda’s oatmeal. This oatmeal is delicious and made with certified gluten-free oats. Finally, in an added benefit, you also get to bask in the sophisticated ambience of the graduate residences and marvel at the quiet and relative calm on this corner of campus when you visit.

Wilbur Dining

Wilbur reliably stocks Udi’s bread, which is by far the best gluten-free bread I’ve had (and I have tried a lot of gluten-free bread). Unfortunately, its other gluten-free options and amenities can be lacking–there is no separate toaster for use, and condiments (peanut butter, jelly, butter) are shared and thus contaminated.  The curries that are served at most meals are not gluten-free, and pasta, bread and bagels are often some of the main options.

Ricker Dining

Having dined at Ricker only once, I can’t comment in a general way, but when I went I noted that they had gluten-free Puffins cereal stocked in one of the (presumably) permanent containers. I did not see gluten-free bread stocked there, but I know that Ricker is generally very sensitive to dietary restrictions, so it would not surprise me if they perhaps restocked after my visit.  They did seem to have quite a few gluten-free side dish options (vegetables, mainly) available as well.

Arrillaga Dining

Though Arrillaga doesn’t seem to have a lot of specifically gluten free options, I have found that they do often have more gluten-free main courses available. They also do an excellent job labeling their foods “gluten-free” whenever I come in.  If you’re ok with the wait, Arrillaga is a great option.

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