Bon Appétit offers specialty foods to accommodate diet needs


Rachael Swerdon buys foods to accommodate her Paleo diet. 

College is a time of transition. For some students, one of the toughest transitions can be deciding what to eat everyday without someone being there to put food on the table.

Bon Appétit, St. Edward’s food service provider, prides itself on serving fresh and locally grown food, but some students feel that there are not sufficient options for students with specific diet restrictions.

Junior volleyball player Loren Kelly follows a strict gluten free regime because of an allergy. Kelly doesn’t think the school provides food for her dietary restrictions, so the majority of the time she gets her meals elsewhere. She doesn’t know what she would do without her kitchen.

“I think if I was living in the dorms the food on campus would not accommodate for my gluten free needs,” Kelly said. “The school needs to accommodate more variety for students as now, more people are finding they have an allergy or symptom to gluten.”

While students are required to buy at least a $115 meal plan and the smallest meal plan freshman can have is $1,730 per semester, Auxiliary Service Director Michael Stone said these requirements can be waved. 

“Students are required to purchase a meal plan because the tuition students pay does not go towards dining services,” Stone said. “If students declare a medical condition such as a special diet, they can be exempt from buying a meal plan.”

However, many students including Kelly are unaware of this fact and do not feel that Bon Appétit offers enough diet-specific options.  

“There should be a section of other gluten free options similar to the vegetarian section or the 600 calories section in Ragsdale,” Kelly said.

Michael Smith, General Manager of Bon Appétit, disagreed and thinks there are many options the company provides to students with dietary restrictions including gluten free pasta in Hunt.

Smith also explained that Bon Appétit is looking to expand its gluten free options and is in the process of testing different gluten free breakfast items.

“We are currently sampling different breakfast items, all gluten free, including pancake mix which will hopefully be an offer soon,” Smith said. “Students just need to talk to us, if there’s something they really want or want more of, we will provide it.”

Another student who is following a strict diet plan is sophomore Rachael Swerdon. Swerdon chose to start her Paleo diet after completing the 24-day AdvoCare challenge, in hopes of become fitter and stronger for soccer. She, like Kelly, also lives on campus but opts to buy her own food and cook.

“The food on campus doesn’t accommodate my dietary needs for the Paleolithic (Paleo) diet. Instead, I usually eat off campus or cook my own meals,” Swerdon said. 

Instead of eating on campus, both Kelly and Swerdon have to spend money buying groceries to fit their special diet plans which they have found can be expensive. 

“I usually go grocery shopping and spend around $60-80 that will last me about two weeks,” Kelly said.  

As for Swerdon, she finds herself at the grocery store every week where she usually spends about $50. “Special items like Lara Bars, almond butter and anything in the bulk section can be pricey,” Swerdon said. 

Smith said that Bon Appétit orders various types of nuts in bulk and Paleo diet approved bars that the company sells in Outtakes. There is also a salad bar in Rags that offers raw vegetables and a variety of salad items, which he said all meet gluten free and Paleo diets.

Kelly thinks that another area where Bon Appétit can improve is clearly marking the ingredients in offered foods.

“I think everything should be labeled like the sauces and dressings. Labeling will help other students with different allergies see what their options are,” Kelly said.

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