Do you have a special dietary need and are concerned about your transition to campus dining? At Florida State University, we recognize that each person’s diet is considered special.
For some students, however, special dietary requirements go beyond balancing the guilty pleasures with healthy choices, but instead are medically necessary to remain healthy and safe. Whether a student is following a special diet for medical reasons or he/she just wants to stay healthy in college, the dining halls have a variety of choices to help keep a student healthy, safe and fulfilled. Seminole Dining’s Dietitian and Executive Chefs can help you plan your meals to meet your special dietary needs.
Below you will find a FAQ section that may answer your questions. If you do not find your question answered here, please feel free to email Jessica.Brooks2@sodexo.com.
What is considered a Special Diet?
A Special Diet is any diet requiring medically-defined restrictions, such as avoiding certain foods for a food allergy. Seminole Dining works to provide healthy choices in our dining halls for all students, but because some students have medical conditions that require specific meal accommodations, Seminole Dining will work to make sure those students’ dietary needs are met. A meal accommodation can come in many forms such as a student requesting a specific option, cooked separately, to decrease cross-contact. Additionally, a student being aware of the menu options to meet their medical/nutritional needs; or a predetermined menu. Seminole Dining’s Dietitian and Executive Chefs work closely with students who require meal accommodations to help plan meals to meet your special dietary needs. All resident dining chefs, and managers are also AllerTrainTM certified and knowledgeable about preparing foods for those with food allergies/intolerances and celiac disease.
What are my options if I have a food allergy or celiac disease?
Avoiding certain food allergens or gluten is extremely important for those students who are diagnosed with a food allergy and/or celiac disease. The Simple Servings station, found in Seminole Cafe, serves meals that are prepared without 7 of the FDA’s Top 8 allergens (wheat, soy, shellfish, dairy products, eggs, peanuts, or tree nuts) or gluten. Foods are also protected against cross-contact with the Top 8 allergens and gluten throughout storage, preparation, and service. To further protect against cross-contact, all customers are provided with a clean plate with each visit and are served directly by dining staff instead of the typical self-serve style of other stations.
Seminole Dining also participates in the FARE College Food Allergy Program
. This comprehensive program is designed to help Seminole Dining improve safety and quality of life for college students with food allergies or celiac disease.
If your food allergy is not in the FDA’s Top 8, you may need a specially prepared meal to ensure you are safe. To start the process for determining how Seminole Dining can meet your medically restrictive dietary needs, contact our Seminole Dining Dietitian at Jessica.Brooks2@sodexo.com
Though the food is prepared in a building where other allergy and gluten-containing foods are also prepared, the staff takes every precaution to keep the food in the Simple Servings station safe for those with food allergies or celiac disease.
Depending on your allergy, you may also need to work with your resident adviser, roommate, friends and faculty. The people around you should know if you carry an epinephrine self-injector and about your emergency plan. Check the FARE site for information and resources for college students with food allergies.
How do I know what foods contain food allergens and/or gluten?
or download the Bite app (Bite by Sodexo) to your smartphone (Apple or Android) for menus and ingredient lists based by day, meal period and location.
Nutritional information is also available at each dining station during each meal period. Posted menus include the nutrition fact label as well as the type of allergen or gluten each menu item contains. Remember that if at any time you have questions regarding any of the ingredients, please ask the server or food service manager. He or she will be happy to show you the ingredient list so you feel comfortable about the foods you choose.
Resources for College Students with Food Allergies
I don’t need a special diet but do want to eat healthy. What do you have for me?
Seminole Dining incorporates Mindful recipes into the menu every day. Mindful is not about using your will power to eat healthy food that wouldn’t be your first choice but about healthy indulgence – filling your plate with delicious food that will satisfy your appetite and hunger.
Foods identified with the Mindful logo mean these foods are lower in total calories, total fat, saturated fat and sodium. Seminole Dining has also earned Mindful Gold status, meaning we have committed to the Partnership for a Healthier America and have met 100% of the requirements for healthy dining in a college setting. Options such as whole grain breads, grilled, steamed, or roasted vegetables with no added fat or oil and more are some examples of Mindful items offered with each meal. With the Seminole Dining Dietitian and Executive Chefs, you’ll not only learn to embrace a healthy lifestyle during your college years, but learn skills and tips to allow you to maintain your healthy habits throughout your life.
What are my options if I follow a plant-based diet?
Look for these icons on menus showing items that meet these criteria. Both resident dining halls include a vegan station that serve foods like whole grain salads, quinoa, fresh cooked and/or raw vegetables, a hot entrée, soup, and hummus, to name a few. Vegetarian options are also included at virtually every station, including the pizza and grill stations.
Following a plant-based diet does not mean you have to eat only at the vegan station. Throughout both dining halls, you’ll find vegan and vegetarian menu items in other stations that you’ll be able to identify by a V or VG logo.
What do I need to do if I have a medically restrictive diet and I’m concerned about transitioning to the campus dining program?
Most medically restrictive diets can be accommodated in the dining hall. To determine if Seminole Dining can meet a student’s dietary needs, the student must:
- Contact the Seminole Dining Dietitian at Jessica.Brooks2@sodexo.com to schedule an appointment to discuss the dietary needs and what accommodations can be made.
- Register with Student Disability Resource Center. Students who may need on-campus housing accommodations relating to their medically-restrictive diet should contact and register with the Student Disability Resource Center at 874 Traditions Way 108 Students Services Building Tallahassee, FL 32306. Phone: (850) 644-9566, Fax: (850) 645-1852.