Medically Required Diets

We want to ensure everyone dining with us has a safe experience. There are several options available for those with food allergies or other dietary requests. Laura Croteau-Lopez, RD, LD, our registered dietitian, is available to help you with food allergies, navigating the market places, making a nutritious plate, and other nutrition-related questions. 

Thrive Station

In the fall of 2018, University Dining opened Thrive, an allergen-free station located in Burge Market Place. This station is void of gluten plus the top nine food allergens (fish, shellfish, egg, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame and milk). Some of the many menu items include pizza, pancakes, wings, nachos, sandwiches, etc. All foods at this station are prepared in a controlled environment using separate equipment to avoid cross-contact.

How Our Staff Can Help

Our team and the University of Iowa works to assist those with dietary needs in a variety of ways:

How We Can Help
  • All food and menu items are clearly labeled with icons that state whether an item contains gluten and or the following allergens: milk, eggs, fish, wheat, soy, shellfish, peanuts, sesame and tree nuts.
  • Dairy-free milk options are available for those students who are lactose intolerant, have a milk allergy, or have a food preference.
  • There are clearly labeled vegetarian and vegan options available throughout our market places.
  • Each market place location has a chef that will prepare your meals in a controlled environment to reduce the risk of cross-contact.
  • Each all-you-care-to-eat market place has a designated gluten-free refrigerator in the serving area where individually packaged gluten-free items are stored, including bread, buns, bagels, cookies, and other goodies. We also have gluten-free noodles, chicken tenders, and pizza available upon request.
  • Our full-time staff, student leads, and student managers are trained and certified regarding food allergies, celiac disease, and food intolerances/sensitivities through AllerTrain.
  • Students can make requests at made-to-order stations in our market places, so that proper procedures can be used to ensure safe cooking for that individual.
  • If your allergies are not included on sign labels, our dietitian will analyze the menu for you.
  • Please let one of our staff know if you are concerned about cross-contact at your dining table and we will happily clean the area in an attempt to remove allergen residue that may have been left.
  • Students may add a refrigerator to their room for insulin supplies or other medications as needed.
  • For those students who have dietary needs beyond the top nine (9) allergens or gluten intolerance, our registered dietitian, Laura Croteau-Lopez is available to work on a customized solution.
Managing a Dietary Request

Your health and safety in our dining locations is our top priority and our team is committed to helping you find a customized solution to meet your dietary needs. If you are a student with a food allergy or dietary restriction, please make sure you talk to our nutrition specialist or a location manager. A wide variety of food options are available at all market places. Once a dietary request is submitted, University Dining works with you to accommodate your request in the following ways. 

Dining Staff Work To:
  • Keep your request, and the information contained within, private among administrators involved with your accommodation.
  • Notify you when your complete request has been received.
  • Email you potential accommodations upon review of your request and documentation.
Students Should Work To:
  • Submit a complete request form.
  • Check your university email address for accommodations-related communication.
  • Begin conversations with a licensed clinical professional to discuss your request and the documentation they will need to provide.
  • Initiate conversations with our office if you have any questions or concerns. You may include your family on joint phone calls and office visits, but they cannot manage your accommodations on your behalf.
Submitting a Dietary Request Form

Students who wish to submit a dietary request form can do so below. 

Submit a Dietary Request Form


Vegan and Vegetarian Diets

Our staff is trained in preparing food items for students who are vegan or vegetarian, and our market places offer a fresh selection of vegetarian and vegan options daily. All of our vegan and vegetarian items are noted with an icon. This makes it easy for you to tell which items you are able to consume. 

How we determine which items are vegetarian or vegan:

  • Vegetarian: No meat, poultry, fish, or seafood. Dairy, eggs, honey, gels/gelatin are accepted.
  • Vegan: No meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy, honey, gels, gelatin, colorings. 

Some nutrients are only available in meat products, so a vegetarian or vegan may have a more difficult time taking in the daily requirement. Below are tips to help you get the nutrients you need while dining with us.

Tips for Dining While Vegan or Vegetarian
  • Choose protein sources that are low in fat such as beans, lentils, and rice. 
  • Nuts, nut butters, peas, and soy products (e.g. tofu) are great protein sources for both vegans and vegetarians.
  • Greek yogurt, cheese, and milk are great sources of protein for vegetarians. 
  • Choose soy milk (available in our market places), which allow you to intake similar amounts of calcium as an individual who consumes cow's milk. 
  • Our market places always serve a vegan entree, in addition to a daily soup.
Religious Preferences

If you have a religious preference that excludes the consumption of pork or pork products, please speak with one of our dining team members. Halal beef and chicken are available upon request.