The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Monday March 4th

OPINION: Eating vegetarian on campus is difficult but not impossible

(Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gladstone / Multimedia Coordinator).
(Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gladstone / Multimedia Coordinator).

Eating as a vegetarian at the College means endless pasta, potatoes and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

Following a vegetarian diet is challenging, as is. Eating every meal at a school where vegetarian options are slight makes it even harder. 

As a vegetarian, I often struggle to find nutritious and diverse foods on campus. A lot of the food options contain red meat or poultry, which means that I can not eat them. I have found that it is hard to find protein-rich foods that are not meat. There have been days where I only consume five grams of protein when I should be consuming around 43 grams. On other days, I find myself eating the same foods over and over. 

Nutritious vegetarian options on campus are limited and hard to find, but they do exist. After trying out nearly every vegetarian option on campus, I have learned how to eat a healthy and balanced diet while living at the College. 

I used to exclusively go to Eickhoff Hall for meals. It has several food stations, which means that there are many options to choose from, and some of them are not so bad. During breakfast hours, Eickhoff serves vegetable omelets that are delicious and full of protein. For lunch and dinner, I usually have a burrito bowl with rice, beans, lettuce and salsa. Unfortunately, the omelets and burrito bowls are some of the only vegetarian options at Eickhoff that have sufficient protein. 

Once in a while, when they are not serving plain pasta, the Vegan Loop at Eickhoff will prepare a hot meal that includes tofu or beans. Checking the online menu is the best way to find out when these days are. It is on these rare days, and when I am craving omelets or burrito bowls, that I eat at Eickhoff. Otherwise, I steer clear of the dining hall.

Senior secondary special education major Luca Bottitta is also a vegetarian who lives at the College. Bottitta has spent the past four years learning about and navigating on-campus dining.

“Eick is not really an option,” Bottitta said. “You can choose to go to Eick when you see that there are good options that you want, and if there aren’t good options then you don't have to waste your money going to Eick.” 

I did not want to keep spending points and swipes at Eickhoff just to leave disappointed. I needed to discover more options, so I checked out The Lions Den dining in the Brower Student Center. Similar to Eickhoff, it has multiple stations to choose from, and a decent amount of vegetarian options. I have enjoyed black bean burgers from OBC Grill, salads from SubConnection and vegetable pasta from Pasta & Co.. The Lions Den has become my go-to for dinner as of lately, since I know that I will be able to find something decent to eat. 

Two dining locations on campus have never let me down. They are the Education Café and the Library Café. Both of these locations have delectable egg and cheese sandwiches, which can come on a bagel, croissant or sliced bread. I am obsessed with these sandwiches because eggs have lots of protein, and I can eat them at any time. The Cafés also offer nutritious snacks like Greek yogurt, hummus and crackers and vegetarian soup. I have at least one meal or snack from a Café almost every day. 

Since I get most of my meals from The Lions Den, Library Café and Education Café, meal equivalency and points are necessities. The ability to browse multiple locations for food, rather than being confined to one dining hall, makes it possible to find something decent to eat. 

“As I’ve grown up through the College, I’ve realized that an all-points plan is the only way to make it work,” Bottitta said.

I am currently a sophomore at the College, so I am required to have a meal plan that includes meal swipes for Eickhoff Hall. I use three swipes a week at Eickhoff, tops. Next year, I am going to follow Bottitta’s lead and choose a meal plan that does not include meal swipes. 

Eating every meal on campus as a vegetarian can be a struggle, but it is possible when you know where to look.


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