Eating Gluten-Free On Campus

A round-up of where Boston's students can eat gluten-free.

Gluten free bread image via shutter stock

Gluten free bread image via shutter stock

Many of Boston’s college students choose not to eat meat, and their schools’ campuses have acknowledged that fact. Other students, whether by choice or by allergy, don’t eat products containing or that have come into contact with gluten. These students will have a harder time finding dining options on campus. Below are a few of the gluten-free dining options on Boston’s college campuses.

Boston University

While Warren Towers does not accomodate gluten-free dining — unless you count a small gluten-free refrigerator — Marciano Commons does. With its own gluten-free preparation stations to avoid cross-contamination and isolated gluten-free pantries that have strict anti-contamination rules, Marciano Commons is the gluten-free destination for BU’s East campus. For students on the other side of campus, The Fresh Food Company at West Campus offers similar facilities for gluten-free dining.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology 

MIT’s dining halls, while not as stringent about cross-contamination as BU, offer a number of gluten-free meals every day. There are on average only four or five dishes a day without gluten, and they are mostly offered at the Simmons dining hall (The Howard Dining Hall offers none according to MIT’s website), but they are creative dishes. Simmons offers up things like portobello mushroom burgers with grilled onions, and sage, white bean, and tomato soup that are just as savory as the dishes with gluten.


At Harvard, students’ gluten-free needs will be gladly accommodated, but only one by one. While Harvard doesn’t have specific dining facilities where gluten-free can be easily found, students can self-identify with their dining hall managers and work with them to stock and cook gluten-free meals. David Davidson, Managing Director of Harvard’s dining hall services, says that in addition to talking one-on-one with the managers to stock gluten-free products, “dining halls may have specific places where a gluten-intolerant individual can find ingredients and make personal preparations as needed.”


Northeastern’s dining services offer gluten-free freezers in International Village and Levine Marketplace dining halls that come equipped with gluten-free ingredients, toaster ovens, and microwaves. Additionally, at Levine Marketplace and International Village, “made without gluten” hot entrees are available for gluten-free students. However, Northeastern warns that while these products may be made without gluten, they were not necessarily prepared in a gluten-free kitchen. Students with severe gluten allergies are encouraged to talk with the dining managers and chefs individually to discuss possible cross-contamination in each dish.

Boston College

BC features a “Plain & Simple” line in each of the three main dining halls that serves food that was prepared in an isolated preparation station to avoid cross-contamination. In addition, according to Sheila Tucker, BC’s Executive Dietitian, all three dining halls have a gluten-free zone that offers English muffins, pizza, pasta, desserts and waffles. For a quicker meal, BC gluten-free students can grab a sandwich at the Eagle’s Nest Deli that has been prepared with separate utensils, gloves, and cutting boards than the dishes containing gluten. And for those gluten-free students who are not vegetarian, the Hillside Cafe offers burgers on gluten-free rolls.

Tufts University

At both Carmichael and Derwick-MacPhie dining halls, Tufts University offers dozens of gluten-free options. Both halls have gluten-free refrigerators available for self-prepared foods, and offer gluten-free variations on many favorite dishes like pizza, cookies, and Asian sauces. Separate toasters and preparation areas are available and students are encouraged to bring up any concerns about cross-contamination with the manager on duty at either hall.