Forgotten Vegetarians: With March being National Nutrition Month, CHS should consider offering more vegetarian food options for students


Adhi Ramkumar, Online Editor

Lunch is an integral part of our school day — we need to eat properly to function well and perform at our best. However, with a student body of over 5,000 students, we each have specific dietary needs that must be met, ranging from lactose intolerance to nut allergies to soy allergies. While the cafeteria food services address most of these dietary constraints, I believe we still don’t have enough vegetarian options.
I have been vegetarian all of my life-not just because of my Hindu faith, but also due to moral ethics as well. I am not alone. According to a study conducted by Acosta, a leading agency within the consumer goods industry, Millennials are increasingly taking a stance in the sustainable food system. More specifically, 26 percent of Millennials in the aforementioned study identified themselves as either vegetarian or vegan. Although this statistic may seem rather small, it illustrates the growing popularity of vegetarianism among youth.
Each day, I must bring lunch from home because of the lack of variety for vegetarian options. When taking a look at the Greyhound Station and Freshman Center cafeteria menus on the CHS website, I noticed the only option I am limited to daily is peanut butter and jelly uncrustables, with pizza and vegetarian salads offered on certain days. Although it must be acknowledged that the Ala Carte menu does provide vegetarian options, they are primarily side dishes; therefore, the problem is that food services does not offer many vegetarian main dishes. Consequently, many vegetarian students at CHS are forced to habitually bring in lunches, thereby imposing a burden on our daily schedules because we have to take extra time in the morning to prepare meals.
Just this year, a school in Brooklyn, New York, transitioned to an all vegetarian school, according to the Coalition for Healthy School Food, a nonprofit organization that works heavily with the Department of Education. In fact, the process was largely student-driven, with students taking the initiative to transition to a cafeteria providing many vegetarian and vegan entrées. The options provided at that school range from Mexicali chili to teriyaki crunchy tofu to lentil sloppy joes. Students at that school are able to have other vegetarian options besides peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
The purpose of including this anecdotal evidence is not to encourage a push towards a completely plant-based diet, but rather to encourage food services at this school to provide a wide range of vegetarian options for students. This school must appeal to the needs of vegetarian and vegan students. This might be difficult to adjust to, but it certainly is possible.