Veganism in the cafeteria

FULL DISCLOSURE:  I am currently a vegetarian in the middle of a vegan transition so I’m definitely biased when it comes to the subject of schools having vegetarian/vegan meal options.

Ah the cafeteria…

Home for many students’ lunches and hot meals. That, of course, is not the case if you’re vegetarian (like me) and even less so if you’re vegan. Fellow vegetarians and vegans who are trying to avoid animal products know about the struggles of buying food in the cafeteria. You are left with no choice but to pack a lunch and snack because you know that your only options will be a small chickpea salad or a small plate of fruit. On the off-chance that I may forget my lunch and/or didn’t have the chance to eat breakfast (because I’m rushing) and/or that I may not be satisfied with my lunch that day, my choices are very limited if I wanted to buy any food at the cafeteria that would satisfy the hunger of a full-blown vegetarian/vegan. I’m not saying that I dislike the few options offered at the cafeteria, but I just don’t find it reasonable to pay for a mediocre platter of fruit that is low in calories but not as filling compared to the meat counter-part. I cannot imagine to be put in the shoes of a vegan who has a lunch pass due to limited resources at home and is required to buy their lunch at the cafeteria where all their options almost exclusively meat-based meals. The reality is that I am in the extreme minority when it comes to vegans in our schools. The reason schools serve this is because the vast majority of students are meat eaters. That doesn’t mean vegan options can’t benefit them either. Schools these days strive to promote healthy lifestyles, therefore by offering a vegan meal option encourages students to eat more plant-based foods which are extremely healthy for our bodies (not to mention the animals and environment, but that’s a whole other subject). I wish school cafeterias were a little more vegan- friendly and that on the rare occasion that there would be a meat-free option for the day, that this option would not be full eggs or cheese as these are still animal products.

This blog was written by Lester B. Pearson High School student Michael Guarneri who grew up in Montreal North and tries his best to make full use of his student life in school.