Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Gluten Free Meals – The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Jacob Gifford
Lack of Gluten-Free food options in the Jack Kane Ding Hall on Winona State campus for those who need Gluten-Free options. Student searches for gluten-free bread in the dining hall, yet there is barely any bread left.

Walking into Jack Kane dining hall, students come in hungry and always hope to leave satisfied. However, that isn’t the case for many students at Winona State University (WSU) who need gluten free options. Although there is a designated area for gluten free food, it is still hard for those students to leave the dining hall feeling like their needs have been met.

First-year student at WSU, Jayna Anderson, is one of the many who face this struggle. Anderson has celiac disease, so she is unable to eat any of the dining hall food that has gluten in it.

“When coming to Winona, they told me that it wouldn’t be a problem,” Anderson said. “They said they had lots of people with celiacs disease, and they have a whole dedicated thing with a plethora of different kinds of foods that people eat from and that satisfied me. Quickly, what I’m discovering is that they do not have a plethora of foods.”

There is an area in Jack Kane dining hall for people who fall into the category of having “common” allergies. One of these common allergies that is remedied at Dine Without in Jack Kane dining hall is an allergy to gluten. Though, at Dine Without it is still hard for a student to get a satisfying meal even if it’s meant for people with a gluten free diet.

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Most meals at Dine Without consist of rice, one to two vegetables, and some days a protein. However, many times, the protein that is included is pork, which many people don’t eat for a variety of reasons. Whether personal, religious, or dietary restriction, the people who don’t eat pork are often left with the option to only eat rice and vegetables. Anderson mentioned how tricky it can be to find something to eat.

“When I try to go to other things and ask if their [the meal] is gluten free, I have been told to just go to the gluten free area, they say, ‘They have food for you there,’” Anderson said. “If half the time they [the gluten free area] have pork, then half the time I can’t eat there.”

For many people, there are plenty of options in the dining hall, and from an outside perspective, there are a lot of options for gluten free students. However, when people who are allergic to gluten walk into the dining hall at WSU, they are faced with the fact they may not actually be able to eat what they are providing that day.

Gracy Butcher, a second-year student at WSU, has witnessed many of his friends with gluten allergies struggling to find food for specific meals.

“I’d walk with [my friend] and watch them be visibly nervous going into the dining hall wondering if they’ll be able to eat what they have that day,” Butcher said. “I think that WSU should offer more diverse options for gluten free meals, especially protein options.”

On the flip side, the Director of Dining Service at WSU, John Sinniger, mentioned that the dining hall has received compliments for providing diverse options of food for the students.

“In our food committee meeting, one of the representatives of the residential halls shared a comment complimenting the variety of food made without gluten and vegetarian options,” Sinniger said.

However, Anderson addressed another significant challenge she faces: a change in her nutrition.

“I got here August 17th and I have lost 15 pounds since then,” Andersons said. “I’ve spent all of my dining dollars trying to sustain myself at Zanes because I am hungry, and I am famished because they do not have satisfying food for an adult body.

The dining hall has a variety of food options for students, but educating staff members on the lack of gluten free options is important. Students go to the dining halls to receive balanced and nutritious meals, and accommodating all students is necessary.

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About the Contributors
Alayna Majkrzak
Alayna Majkrzak, News Reporter
Alayna Majkrzak (she/they) is a first-year at Winona State University and is a news reporter here at The Winonan. Majkrzak is a CALT (Communication, Arts, and Literature Teaching) major and is minoring in theatre.   In their spare time, they enjoy crocheting, reading and writing. Though, all these activities are preferably done in a comfortable sweater while listening to their favorite playlist or watching Ghost Adventures. Back at home, Majkrzak was involved in their school newspaper for four years, and they are incredibly excited to continue their passion for honesty through journalism in college.  
Jacob Gifford
Jacob Gifford, Features Writer

Jacob Gifford (They/He) is a photographer and a features writer for the Winonan and started in fall 2023. Jacob is in his third year at Winona State and is studying Psychology with a minor in Philosophy and Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies.

Besides working for The Winonan, Jacob is also the Vice president of Philosophy Club at Winona State.

In his free time, Jacob enjoys hanging out with friends, longboarding, playing videogames, and writing and playing music. Jacob also enjoys going to concerts of local bands.

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