Good Eats for the Alternative Dieter

  • February 10th, 2020

If you have a dietary restriction, chances are, you already know it can be difficult finding foods to eat when dining out. Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, have a food allergy or simply trying to eat healthy, options can feel limited. Here are some campus options.

Vegetarian items contain no meat, fish or poultry and consist mostly of vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, eggs and dairy.

Bama Dining provides a vegetarian-friendly environment, with vegetarian and vegan items making up 30% of menus. All three dining halls — vegetarian logovegan symbolBurke, Lakeside and Fresh Food Company — and several other dining locations offer options. Look for the light green leaf beside a menu item, which indicates a vegetarian selection.

Vegan foods contain no meat or animal products like dairy, eggs and honey. These menu items consist mostly of fruits, vegetables, grains and beans.

All three dining halls have vegan menu items. In fact, the Yoshoku stir-fry station at Lakeside serves mostly vegan foods. Look for the dark green leaf for these selections.

Gluten is a protein found in some types of grain and in foods like bread, pasta and cereal. Some people avoid gluten, due to the negative impact it has on their bodies. Many foods are naturally gluten-free, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, certain whole grains, dairy and fresh meat, fish and poultry.

The Glutinus Minumus station in Lakeside is dedicated to foods without gluten, and many other locations offer items, as well. If you are gluten-free and unsure of what’s offered, see a manager for ingredient information. And let your server know any special dietary needs, so additional precautions can be taken.

Other food allergies
Food allergies happen when the immune system reacts to certain foods. Reactions can range from mild to life-threatening. When it comes to food allergies, Bama Dining takes the approach that customers know best, so menu items and signage do not carry allergy labels. Instead, each dining location has a manager who is well trained in food allergy awareness and works to understand each customer’s specific needs.

Many accommodations are available for customers with food allergies, including modification to menu items, special preparation of allergen-free items, text-ahead ordering and access to the allergy awareness room in Lakeside, a dedicated space for minimizing cross contact.

If you have an allergy, see a manager about ingredient information, and if you need to make special arrangements, you’re encouraged to submit a Special Diet Accommodation Form.

Other healthy offerings
As the saying goes, you are what you eat. That’s especially relevant to the health-conscious eater. Bama Dining identifies its healthy menu items as “eat well” and “whole grains.”

Eat well indicates the item has wholesome ingredients, good nutrition and provides at least a full serving of nutritionally dense whole foods that are lower in calories, saturated fats and sodium. Look for the orange leaf.

Whole grains, represented by a brown leaf, are items that have whole grains as one of the leading ingredients in the recipe.

For additional information, visit the Bama Dining webpage.

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.