Tips and Tricks from a Savvy Gluten Free College Grocery Shopper.

Earlier today, Udi’s Gluten Free put out a fantastic post about the top 10 things they’d include in their gluten free grocery guide. So, I thought to myself, “I should totally do the college version!”. First, take a look at Udi’s post here, and hopefully this gluten free college girl can give you a few tips in avoiding what my friends know me for–a 2 hour trip to Meijer, up and down every aisle.

1. Make a list, on paper or in your head, of your staples.

-Okay, so maybe I’m not the best at this one–hence the two hour trips of la-dee-dah throughout the store. But I definitely do know that there are a few things I must get every time I go shopping: Udi’s White Bread, Udi’s Plain Bagels, Philadelphia Whipped Cream Cheese, Yoplait Light Yogurt [all are gluten free!], Dole Banana Orange strawberry Juice, Lactaid Fat Free Milk, Sargento Reduced Fat Colby Jack Cheese Sticks, Sargento Ultra Thin Provolone/Cheddar/Colby Jack Slices, Hilshire Farms Oven Roasted Turkey Breast Deli Meat, Oscar Mayer Reduced Fat Turkey Bacon, Green Beans, Bananas, and Fuji Apples. Eclectic? Of course. Perfect for a college girl? That too.

2. Find the gluten free aisle, as Udi’s mentioned.

-Nearly every grocery store now has an area for gluten free in both the freezer and grocery sections. Are they always labeled? Definitely not.Meijer has their gluten free area in the “Dairy Alternatives” aisle…

3. Don’t forget the protein.

-It’s very easy to get caught up with my favorite Reduced Fat Cape Cod Kettle Chips, some apples, and yogurt, but be sure to stop in the meat/fish area. I avoid deli counters entirely; they’re a cess pool of cross-contamination. However, getting some fresh salmon [which you can even pop in the freezer in a Ziploc!] at the fish counter, or some Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Strips for easy dinners is a must.

4. Shop in terms of full meals first, then snacks.

-It’s easy to grab anything gluten free in sight, but be conscious that you’ve planned real meals. If you look at some Udi’s Tortillas, be sure you also grab some chicken, seasoning, and red peppers to make fajitas! [of course, check all ingredients] Shopping in terms of meals eliminates that all-too-often moment of  “Oh, so I have some bread…and an apple…Maybe I’ll just have almond butter and an apple…wait, that’s not a meal…shoot, what am I doing here.”

5. Imagine the power went out from a storm [not uncommon this winter]. Would you have enough to eat for a few days?

-I always ensure that I have enough food that doesn’t need refrigeration in case I get stuck in a tough situation. This means things like almond butter, jars of salsa, chips, dry cereal like Corn Chex [yum!], Gatorade, and other non-microwavable, non-perishables are a must. Especially as a diabetic, you MUST be sure you’ve got enough food on hand, including things with and without lots of sugar.


Hopefully I’ve been a bit helpful for that next trip between a coordinator meeting and ballroom practice, ’cause sometimes you’ve just gotta squeeze it in.


Take it easy, but take it.



The girl behind A Different Survival Guide. Known on social as breezygfreezy.

  • StephenS

    Fortunately, I don't have to eat gluten free, but I think your tips are terrific. And I love Corn Chex too!

  • Katy

    Did you ever live in a dorm with just a tiny fridge? This is mind boggling. I can't believe my child will have to do all of this.

    • briwolin

      I personally did not. It wasn't practical for me. I needed kitchen space with all my utensils and a large fridge for frozen and fresh protein, produce etc. I know there are people who have done just the mini fridge but those are usually students at universities where the dining halls could accommodate and help make meals. Here, it's all up to me! Things will change in the future though, including a cure for celiac expected in about 13 years!

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