Food Allergies? Gluten Free? We’ve Got You Covered!

We know grabbing a meal or a quick bite to eat can be challenging when you have food allergies or need to eat gluten free, but we’re here to make life easier!
In University Housing, we pride ourselves on giving you a variety of delicious and nutritious dining options each day. Along with that, we provide the resources to help you plan ahead and eat well.
Helpful Tools
Two tools you’ll find super helpful when navigating your food options with us are the EatSmart website and the Illinois App.
The filters on the EatSmart website and within the Illinois App will empower you with the resources you need to self-manage the dining process and navigate your many options.
Both tools allow you to see what items are being served in all of our dining locations – the four all-you-care-to-eat dining halls and five retail locations. You’ll be able to view nutritional information and filter for dietary needs and the top allergens for each menu option.
The EatSmart website also allows you to see the full ingredient list for any item!
Self-Navigation in the Dining Halls
You have the flexibility to eat in any of our dining locations spread conveniently across campus, which allows you to enjoy our specialty kitchens, which have allergen-friendly options.

A student selects a healthy food option in a University Housing dining hall.

The Soytainly station at the Ikenberry Dining Center (Ike) offers a 100% vegan menu, including no eggs and no dairy. You can also try Field of Greens in the Lincoln Avenue Residence Halls (LAR) Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. for allergen-friendly vegan and vegetarian options, many of which don’t include eggs or dairy.
Visit Sky Garden at the Pennsylvania Avenue Dining Hall (PAR) to enjoy made-to-order stir fry, with allergen- and gluten-friendly options available.

We use “gluten-friendly” or "allergen-friendly" to best describe dishes made in our kitchens without ingredients containing gluten and/or allergens. Because we process other allergens and gluten in the same facilities, our spaces do not have a "free from" certification. The term "friendly" indicates we use confirmed safe/"free from" ingredients in a designated space for allergen-friendly prep, and we cook with those ingredients in an allergen-safe way, as an additional level of safety and precaution for our guests.
Each of the four dining halls has a gluten-friendly self-service fridge, offering gluten-friendly and individually wrapped gluten-free items like bread, cookies and muffins. 
Likewise, each of the four dining halls has a vegan fridge, providing dairy allergen-friendly cheese and milk alternatives.
Prepackaged gluten- and allergen-free items are available in our retail spaces as well. If there are items we don’t carry that you’d like us to add to help meet your needs, please let us know by using the “Text Feedback” button within the Residence Hall Dining location’s page in the Illinois App!
With the exception of the prepackaged items, there is some very slight risk of cross-contact, as the kitchens share spaces and ingredients.

Within the dining halls, you’re invited to ask Dining staff for portions of items from pans that have not yet been put out on the buffet, which could reduce the risk of cross-contact. And when ordering food at our retail locations, you can ask Dining staff to prepare your order in an allergen-friendly manner.

Severe Food Allergies or Intolerances? Stress-Free Solutions!
Inclusive Solutions Kitchens, located within the Ike and ISR (Illinois Street Residence Halls) dining centers, are open to any customer ­– both meal plan holders and people without meal plans. Here, menus are made without the top-9 allergens and gluten in a dedicated allergen- and gluten-friendly kitchen.
Inclusive Solutions Kitchen staff receive additional training to prep, cook and serve food in these stations. One notable difference at Inclusive Solutions Kitchens is the meals are not self-serve. Staff will serve you individually to reduce the risk of cross-contact that can occur on buffets.
While custom ordered meals are an option for those with severe allergies who complete DRES registration, if your allergies don’t go beyond the top-9 and gluten, you’re encouraged to obtain your meals from the Inclusive Solutions Kitchen stations when dining at Ike and ISR, even if you’ve registered to receive custom orders.
Custom order allergy meals require a University Housing meal plan and DRES registration, including medical documentation.
After you register, you’re given access to an app that allows you to place custom orders at any of our four all-you-care-to-eat dining halls during regular hours. These meals are prepared by staff who undergo additional, higher levels of training and become certified in meal prep for severe allergies.
You can enjoy custom order allergen-friendly meals in conjunction with all other dining options above, depending on your comfort level with eating from the regular menus – and hopefully with a little help from the EatSmart website and the Illinois App!

If you have further questions about allergen- and gluten-friendly dining or need additional guidance, you’re invited to contact our dietitian via email or text TXTRDN plus your question to 55744.
We’re here to help you eat well, stay healthy and enjoy all Dining Services has to offer!