PulseNo meat, no problem!

Advice from staff and students on maintaining a sustainable vegetarian or vegan diet at Trinity
Noelle BarreraSeptember 6, 2018202 min
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As the new school year begins, students are adjusting to the food options available at Trinity. New venues such as Starbucks and Steak and Shake are being added, while Mabee and the Commons have undergone renovations. For students who are vegetarian, vegan or considering moving towards a plant-based diet, finding healthy, meatless meals on campus can be a major concern.

Katherine Hewitt, wellness coordinator, explained how her office has had more students come in with questions relating to vegetarianism or veganism over the years.

“As each class comes in, there seems to be more passion about food — thinking more about and being conscientious of where the food is being sourced, and picking food preferences based on either what their personal values are or for health-based reasons,” Hewitt said. “Students kind of seek out guidance either from our office or from the dietitian that we partner with pretty frequently.”

Mandy Tyler, an off-campus dietitian who often partners with Wellness Services to advise students, said that students can definitely live sustainable vegetarian or vegan lifestyles at Trinity.

“Whether students want to go vegetarian or if they want to go vegan and cut out all products from animal sources, it can definitely be done,” Tyler said. “There’s a lot of health benefits that an individual could receive by increasing fruits and vegetables in their diet and increasing whole grains, legumes or beans.”

Tyler has two pieces of advice that she often gives students who want to become vegetarian or vegan.

“Make sure that, one, you’re getting enough calories, especially if you’re an active individual, and then two, making sure that you’re getting enough protein,” Tyler said. “When you cut out protein, there’s other nutrients that we tend to not eat as much as — such as iron, B12, your Omega-3s sometimes can start to dwindle, Vitamin D, so those all could become nutrients of concern.”

According to Tyler, consuming a variety of foods is beneficial for vegetarian and vegan students.

“One thing that I always tell [students] is variety. … If you’re eating a good variety — including fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, sources of protein — you’re going to get most of your nutrient needs met,” Tyler said.

Wellness Services is always available for any students who want to make positive changes to their diet, including vegetarian or vegan students who want to incorporate more protein sources in their diet.

“Whether it’s taking in more black bean options or eating more of seeds or nuts or things like that for protein, we just try to guide students through that process,” Hewitt said.

Delia Rogers, junior, spoke about her experiences finding vegetarian food on campus.

“With regards to iron, you can definitely find spinach in Mabee and at Freshii, and so I eat a lot of that,” Rogers said. “Protein-wise, there’s usually something with beans, and the stir-fry station is fantastic at Mabee. That’s a good place to get vegetarian food and find protein, like they often have quinoa or brown rice or tofu.”

Rogers also recommended lentils and peanut butter, two foods with many known health benefits.

“I don’t know if the POD currently has the Madras lentils, but I know that last year they did,” Rogers said. “Lentils also tend to be good sources of a lot of the things that you don’t get as easily on a vegetarian diet, so that’s a relatively inexpensive source of that. I’m keeping peanut butter on hand, too.”

Rachel Hernandez, Aramark’s marketing specialist, outlined the meatless choices provided at Mabee by Aramark.

“Each station in Mabee Dining Hall has a dish that will accommodate vegetarians. Rooted, our new designated vegetarian station, serves a different vegetarian item at each meal period, the Comfort station has vegetables and starches for side dishes, and the new grill area has black bean burgers,” Hernandez wrote in an email, also adding the fact that all locations at the Commons have vegetarian and vegan options for students.

Hernandez also spoke about the new changes coming to Mabee this semester. Along with Rooted, there will be a new allergen-friendly salad bar — students with severe allergies can contact executive chef Brent Gorman to arrange individualized meals — and another new station, Batch 101, which will feature international dishes, many of which will be vegetarian and vegan-friendly.

Off campus, the restaurant Green — located at the Pearl and featured in the Trinitonian’s “Best For Trinity 2018” issue — is known for its relatively inexpensive vegetarian, vegan and kosher comfort food. Other San Antonio restaurants known for vegetarian and vegan-friendly food include Earth Burger, Viva Vegeria and Bok Choy.

Students interested in learning more about a vegetarian or vegan diet or any other nutrition-related topic can email Hewitt at khewitt@trinity.edu to schedule an appointment with a dietitian; Wellness Services can pay for up to two appointments if a student expresses interest.

Noelle Barrera

| Class of 2021 | Majors: English and Anthropology |

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