Though the summer heat may seem oppressive now, temperatures will cool, leaves will change, and the Fall semester for colleges and universities will start.  With the beginning of a new school year comes many exciting changes, but some of those can also be scary.  Some major concerns on the mind of many students and parents are that of food allergies, intolerance, and sensitivities.  How exactly should you advise the affected student on how to approach the institution’s dining services, student services, and gregarious living safely and confidently?  Not to fear!  Our good friends over at FAACT (Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team) have recently put together a fantastic toolkit to help students and parents navigate the tricky waters of college life with special dietary needs. 

Every collegiate experience is different, and each student will have their own specific set of concerns and needs.  FAACT’s College Resource Center provides an à la carte menu of resources to pick and choose from.  Each section of the toolkit provides articles, checklists and podcasts to help guide students and parents concerned about food allergies.  They may not need everything, but there’s everything they need!  There’s even a section for students entering the workforce directly from high school.  FAACT’s comprehensive, thoughtful and informative toolkit will help ease the transition and empower students to advocate for themselves and access the resources available to them so that they can eat safely and confidently.

For example, say you have a student entering college with a peanut allergy and she’s not sure about what services the university offers to assist with food allergies.  You should guide her to check out the For Students section of the FAACT College Resource Center and encourage her to print out and review the checklist.  What if there are parents that have a child about to start college with a seafood allergy?  They won’t be able to advocate for them when the semester starts so they want to make sure they can manage their allergy safely.  Send them to the For Parents section of the Resource Center and print out that checklist, as well as have them listen to the FAACT Roundtable Podcasts.

There are also additional resources for digging deeper into the logistics of managing food allergies in college.  It’s important that your students understand their rights.  The Legal Considerations section details preparing for college life with allergies, provides some background, and guides the students in what to do if accommodating resources are not available to them.  This is an important topic for sure.  And the Eating, Cooking, Shopping resource helps students understand how to safely prepare meals for themselves, something that they may not have much experience in.  Please encourage your students and their parents to explore all the sections of the FAACT College Resource Center to familiarize themselves as much as possible with the resources available to them!

FAACT and MenuTrinfo® have partnered together to make dining in college for students with food allergies a safe and easy experience.  FAACT’s educational resources on the student side paired with MenuTrinfo’s dining staff training courses and kitchen certifications ensure that students have the knowledge and options available to them to eat with confidence.  The best tool a student can equip themselves with is preparedness.  Make sure your students check out the FAACT College Resource Center today!