Vegetarian options are available in cafeteria if students ask about them

Dahlia Ritter, Staff Writer

If you’re a vegetarian student at South, lunchtime may be a frustrating time of the day, maybe even more than it is for the average student due to the limited options the cafeteria has to offer. What many vegetarian students don’t know, however, is that the cafeteria actually does have vegetarian options available; it just takes some communication with the lunch staff. 

“We can make vegetarian as well as gluten-free meals for students who have those dietary restrictions, but they have to let us know in advance for us to be able to have enough time to make their food,” kitchen manager Lori Miller said. “So, if those students know they would like to have a specialized, dietary-specific lunch for that day, they should come let us know earlier in the morning when they get to school and we will do our best to fix them a meal that meets their needs.”

So far this year, students on a vegetarian diet have been relying on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch nearly every day due to a collective unawareness of this alternative lunch option. Although it’s a common lunch option for lots of vegetarian kids, most vegetarian students soon got tired of this entrée item. 

Finn Byrd, senior, wishes he had learned about the option of having a specially-made lunch sooner so that he didn’t have to eat the PB&J’s every day for an entire trimester. 

“I quickly got tired of eating PB&J’s every day because I always thought they were the only consistent option available to us vegetarian students and I don’t like them very much,” Byrd said. “There’s so much peanut butter and jelly on the sandwiches that I end up scraping half of it off and throwing it away, which seems like a huge waste.” 

Some vegetarians have even skipped lunch altogether on some days because they did not know there were options other than PB&J’s available. Sabine Ode, freshman, could recall several instances where she didn’t eat because there were no PB&J’s left during her lunch period, leading her to believe that she had no other choice.

“I really wish I had known I had the option of telling the lunch staff about me needing a vegetarian meal because I could have saved myself on so many days when I just went hungry,” she said. “It’s so frustrating to just find out now that I had that option. The lunch staff needs to make it clear that they offer things like that to students.”

But now that more students are aware that they have the option of telling the lunch staff about their dietary needs so that they accommodate to get a vegetarian lunch, the lunch line will definitely be seeing more vegetarian students eating the cafeteria’s lunch. On the topic of preparing vegetarian-friendly meals, Miller said that she and her staff are able to make a variety of options for vegetarian students ranging from breakfast items to chef salads.