Do you have a special dietary need and are concerned about the transition to the campus dining program? Well at William & Mary, 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 satisfied. W&M’s Campus 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 [[w|specialdiets]].
What do you mean by a Special Diet?
A Special Diet is any diet requiring medically-defined restrictions, such as avoiding certain foods for a food allergy. W&M Dining Services works to provide healthy choices in our dining halls for all students but because some students have medical conditions that require specific meal accommodations, Dining Services will work to make sure those students’ dietary needs are met. A meal accommodation can be many forms such as a student requesting a specific option cooked separately to decrease cross-contact; a student being aware of the menu options to meet their medical/nutritional needs; or a predetermined menu. W&M’s Campus 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, managers and staff are also AllerTrain 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 both residential dining halls, serve foods that are prepared without 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.
W&M Dining Services also participates in the FARE College Food Allergy Program. This comprehensive program is designed to help Dining Services 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 Dining Services can meet your medically restrictive dietary needs, contact the Campus Dietitian at [[w|specialdiets]].
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 advisor, 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?
Visit dining.wm.edu for menus and ingredient lists based by day, meal period and location.
- On the main page, you’ll find a frame with tabs labeled “Headlines”, “Shares”, and “Menus”.
- Click on the “Menus” tab, then on the dining hall of your choice.
- Once on the dining halls’ page, scroll down to On the Menu and click on the dates of the menu you are interesting in viewing.
- Once on the menu, you can choose the day and meal to view.
- By clicking on an individual menu item, a Nutrition Facts label will pop up with a listing of any of the Top 8 allergens and/or gluten that food contains at the bottom of that window. Though not in the FDA’s Top 8 food allergens, mustard and MSG are also identified and listed.
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 to provide you the recipe. He or she will be happy to show you the ingredient list so you feel comfortable about the foods you choose.
I don’t need a special diet but do want to eat healthy. What do you have for me?
W&M 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. W&M Dining Services 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 low fat cheese and 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 Campus 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?
Both resident dining halls include a vegan station that serving foods like whole grain salads, quinoa, fresh cooked and/or raw vegetables, a hot entrée, soup, and hummus, to name a few. A vegan breakfast is always served in the Sadler dining hall. 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 W&M Dining Services is able to meet a student’s dietary needs, the student must:
- Contact the Campus Dietitian at [[w|specialdiets]] to schedule an appointment to discuss the dietary needs and what accommodations can be made.
- Register with Student Accessibility Services. Students who may need on-campus housing accommodations relating to their medically-restrictive diet should contact and register with Student Accessibility Services at Dean of Students Office, Campus Center 107, P.O. Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187. Phone: (757) 221-2509, Fax: (757) 221-2538.
- Obtain medical documentation from your physician. Documentation for a medically restricted diet must include:
- A completed and signed medical information release form. Please download here and complete page 1 of the form. Send page 1 and 2 of your form to your licensed healthcare provider or specialty physician who has examined you within the last year. Your healthcare provider will complete page 2, which must include information about the medical condition, supporting medical history, physical exam, diagnostic test results and prescribed nutrition treatment. Both forms must be faxed to 757-221-2907. Inadequate appropriate documentation may lead to unnecessary dietary restrictions or delay of appropriate therapy that could lead to nutritional deficiencies.
- Self-diagnosis or parental diagnosis without medical collaboration will not be accepted as valid documentation.
- The completed medical information release form and healthcare provider form as well as any additional documentation must be faxed to 757-221-2907.
For more information about the Special Diets program with William & Mary Dining, contact [[w|specialdiets]]