by Olivia Blanco
As you stand in the school lunch line, what do you see? Cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, hamburgers, and pizza crowd your vision. What does a vegetarian or vegan student see? Not nearly as many options as students who eat meat and other animal products.
In the U.S., there are about 7.8 million vegetarians and 1 million vegans. It makes sense that in the grassroots town of Carrboro, many students find problems with the lack of healthy alternatives to the meat-heavy cafeteria lineup.
“The CHS cafeteria provides vegetarian options including toast, cereals, oatmeal, bagels, and french toast for breakfast. For lunch there is vegetarian lasagna, cheesy nachos, toasted cheese sandwich, mac & cheese, and a fruit and cheese plate,” said Joan Mansfield, the dietitian for Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools.
However, junior Alexandra Slydel feels as if the lunch line does not help support vegetarian students like herself as much as they could. According to Slydel, “The only vegetarian thing I’ve ever seen is rubbery pizza and wilted salad.”
As vegetarian and vegan options for foods are usually healthier than fatty meat dishes, a greater variety of choices could help everyone in our school, not just those opposed to meat.
Vegan students have even fewer options than vegitarians. As they do not eat any animal products, Mansfield’s list of vegetarian lunch choices is narrowed down to only one option: the fruit and cheese plate sans cheese.
This lack of appropriate alternatives forces many vegetarians, especially vegans, to consider other options. “I bring my lunch from home, which usually consists of a sandwich, bean soup, or noodles,” commented senior Austen McDiarmid. “I do think it would be nice if the cafeteria could provide more options for vegan students.”