Healthy for Life at U.Va. Dining

The most important thing about a “healthy diet” is that it fits your life, fosters good health, and sustains the maintenance of a stable and healthy body weight. U.Va. Dining provides you with meals that are filled with fresh, flavorful, and satisfying foods that you will love. We make good-for-you seem right-for-you!

If you have a specialized dietary request, please contact the manager of that location. You may also email with any general nutrition questions or concerns.

Meet our U.Va. Dining Nutritionist

Our staff nutritionist is here to help take the mystery out of healthy eating! For more information or assistance with food allergies or dietary restrictions, students are invited to schedule a meeting with Paula Caravati, Ph.D., R.D.N., Nutritionist, 434-982-5117, Private consultations, or group meetings, are a free service for U.Va. students who have a meal plan!

Four Steps for Eating Well with Food Allergies, Intolerances and Special Diets

If you have a food allergy, intolerance or special diet, your first step is to self-identify and meet with U.Va. Dining Nutritionist, Paula Caravati, Ph.D., R.D.N, who will work with you personally to create a customized meal plan that fits your needs.

Here’s our step-by-step process on eating well at U.Va. Dining when you have a specialized diet:

#1. Meet with U.Va. Dining Nutritionist, Paula Caravati to discuss food options in more detail and to take a personal tour of dining locations so that you can get to know the chefs and location managers of the locations you most frequent. Through this team approach, students are encouraged to take accountability for their own safety in the context of receiving support amidst a “family kitchen” atmosphere.

#2. Decide with Paula if the best option for eating safe is to request individualized prepared meals on a daily basis. Individualized service is available for all meal plan holders based on need or preference. Students can also request an individual meal at the time of service. It just might take a few moments to get it ready! Everyone should feel comfortable asking for a specialized plate to meet their dietary and medical needs.

#3. Become familiar with the menu and offerings on the Copper Hood stations at O’Hill, Runk, and Fresh Food Co.

#4. The last step is simply taking charge of your health – we are here to partner with you and keep you nourished, safe and happy at the University of Virginia. Students are always welcome to come into the kitchen and read ingredient labels and talk to our culinary team about being safe in our residential dining facilities. Please do not hesitate to contact us to start the conversation. We also welcome feedback from current students and parents so that we can improve the program for all students on Grounds.

The Copper Hood Station: A Dedicated Allergy-Friendly Station

The Copper Hood station is a dedicated station in O’Hill, Fresh Food Co. and Runk Dining Rooms. During lunch and dinner, the Copper Hood serves menu items made without gluten and the following allergens: egg, milk, soy, wheat, shellfish, fin fish, tree nuts, peanuts (all of the Big Eight Allergens).

Read more about The Copper Hood Station.

Made without Gluten Solutions

Avoiding gluten in your diet? We have a dedicated 'made without gluten zone' in our residential dining room where all selections in this area are made without gluten. They have been specially prepared in a made without gluten area of our kitchen. To see our daily menu offerings at this station, visit our Locations & Menus page.

*Even foods commonly prepared without gluten containing ingredients may not be ‘gluten-free’. Our recipes are prepared in open kitchens where cross-contact is possible and where ingredient substitutions are sometimes made. If you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity please notify your on-site manager to request an individually prepared ‘gluten-free’ selection.


Allergen Guide
Healthy for Life Brochure
Also like U.Va. Dining on Facebook for nutrition news and tips to be Healthy for Life!


The Copper Hood stations at Fresh Food Co., O’Hill Dining Room, and Runk Dining Room are free of the “BIG 8” Allergens including Gluten. All products used in the entrées and sides at this station are vetted thoroughly by our national nutrition team and U.Va. Dining’s Nutritionist, Dr. Paula Caravati. All employees who work at this station are trained extensively and repeatedly using the Food Allergy Research and Education Information (FARE) and ServSafe programs. All cooking spaces, equipment and utensils are properly cleaned, stored, and disinfected according to FARE and food safety standards. We take immense pride in The Copper Hood program and will continue to expand the menu selection and improve the experience for our students with food allergies and intolerances.

At your request, we have included The Copper Hood menu in our online listing for these locations on our website. This means that the following disclaimer is displayed at the bottom of each menu item: Aramark relies on our vendors' allergy warning and ingredient listings. Because we operate a commercial kitchen where ingredient substitutions, recipe revisions and cross-contact with allergens is possible, Aramark cannot guarantee that any food item will be completely free of allergens. We also work personally with the students to ensure their needs are being met at The Copper Hood and all other stations in our dining rooms. Please reach out to us at if you have any questions regarding our dining program.