The Viking Cafe salad bar makes up the bulk of vegetarian options. (Photo: Amanda M. Gordon)

What do vegetarians eat? WCC has not been able to answer this question.

While the cafeteria offers a quite extensive salad bar, as far as protein goes all students following a vegetarian diet can find are beans… and beans. If an individual who does not eat meat or fish wants to get a hot meal, their options are limited to having a plate of sides or a cheese sandwich. Not exactly meals that are satisfying or particularly nutritious.

“We are currently offering vegetarian sandwiches with eggplant, cheese, and roasted peppers, the salad bar that offers quinoa, assorted greens, vegetables, beans, and hard boiled eggs,” said Don Hennessey, Director of Dining Services.

According to Hennessey, the cafeteria offers macaroni and cheese, pizza, vegetable lasagna, and assorted meatless pastas are options on rotating basis.

Unfortunately, these items don’t seem to be in rotation all that often.

“As far as expanding the pure vegetarian profile, yes there are plans at this time,” Hennessey said. According to Mayo Clinic, “reasons for following a vegetarian diet are varied but include health benefits, such as reducing your risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.”

The issue with maintaining a healthy vegetarian diet on campus is that most foods offered in the cafeteria are either highly processed or simply raw vegetables.

“Some vegetarians rely too heavily on processed foods, which can be high in calories, sugar, fat and sodium,” says the staff of Mayo Clinic. “And they may not eat enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains and calcium-rich foods, thus missing out on the nutrients they provide.”

While fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are provided for in the cafeteria, the food options for vegetarians simply lack variety so that an individual eating in the cafeteria everyday will end up having to eat essentially the same meal every day.

“Campus demand for vegan is growing, so too is the diversity of the campus population that dine on vegetables, grains, and beans. It’s a very exciting time in dining.”

Soy is one of three major sources of protein for vegetarians, according to Vegetarian Society, and one that WCC is not yet considering serving to vegetarians and vegans.

“The food options for vegans and vegetarians here are so bland and there are not many,” said WCC student Jessica Baizan who follows a vegan diet. “Yeah I eat salad and quinoa and stuff like that but sometimes I’m not in the mood for salad. It feels like it’s almost impossible to eat at school.”

According to Baizan, students should get better quality and variety for the price they pay.

“I recently ordered lentil soup from the cafeteria and I thought it was vegetarian, it wasn’t. It had chicken stock,” Baizan said. “I’m sure there’s a lot of people who have assumed the same.”

According to Ryan Dwyer, a vegetarian WCC student, the only thing he can usually get at the cafeteria is salad.

“I would like to see better quality salad and of course more vegetarian options,” Dwyer said. “I don’t exactly know why they don’t [offer more vegetarian options] but it’s a small cafeteria.”

When it comes to sandwiches, WCC has tried to accommodate vegetarians by offering an option with eggplant. While this is a step in the right direction, it would be nice to have more options.

“I want more variety,” said vegetarian Silvia Guzman.

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