I don’t miss dining on campus

Brittany Cinderella, Staff Reporter

I’ve always found dining on campus to be extremely difficult and rather expensive. As someone who can’t have much dairy, is allergic to a lot of fruits and recently discovered she can’t have eggs, I’ve always found it extremely difficult to find food options on campus. 

During my freshman year at CWU, I skipped meals and opted for snacks instead of trying to fight with the options on campus. 

After my first month, I went to the Student Medical Center to find a solution and ended up speaking with Dietitian Emily Shaw almost weekly. She told me ideas of what I could eat or select from various places, taking only the greens from a salad bar and grabbing chicken to create a meal, or asking for most of it on the side to combine on my own. 

I found myself more uncomfortable as I had to ask for more accommodations, and in the end, I didn’t continue that.

Overall, I never found a great solution. I ate the same three options, one of them being almost completely made up of dairy products, but I found lactase enzyme supplements to be able to eat dairy.

After my first year, I made an effort to make a meal plan every week, meticulously planning the things I would eat when and then grocery shop. I saw no value in getting a dining plan with the restrictions and preferences I have.

I had always considered doing a meal box service and being able to pick and choose my options, but I felt that they never lined up with what I could eat. 

After four different services, and four years of trying them with my family, I found EveryPlate. 

Not only are their options worth the price per serving, but every ingredient is fresh. Substitutions can be made for meats, vegetables and even sides. I now feel that I can confidently order what my body won’t reject, as well as be able to enjoy it.

Part of me wishes I could still relive days of eating with my friends in the SURC. However, I would look back on recently going to the dining hall and how I found myself with an upset stomach immediately after, and remember why I can’t go. 

I’m still not sure if it’s due to my sensitive stomach or my long list of allergies, but dining on campus is no longer a safe option for me. I cannot imagine that there will be a perfect solution for every allergy or preference, but I’m slowly seeing progress as I walk by the dining hall to class. 

Perhaps one day we could see CWU add a meal service for off-campus students, or for those who are unable to dine with the meal plan. Given the number of ingredients that the dining services bring in for their extensive menu, I could see them creating premade salad box options or even meals with raw meats. 

It would be difficult to create meals that all students or staff with allergies could enjoy, but working with the nutritional professors or the dietitian at CWU could be a great start in creating a better solution.