The dietary needs of our student population, just like the students themselves, are unique and diverse. Sometimes, it can feel isolating to follow a diet that is different from that of your peers, especially when that diet leads to a limited range of options.
Freshman Jocelyn Copeland is both gluten-free and dairy-free. She found that the Chat oftentimes has more options to suit her needs than the dining hall.
While she knows that there are options for her in the dining hall, Copeland has found it difficult to pinpoint these options during meal times. She believes that something that could help with this issue would be the addition of labels indicating which foods are allergen-friendly.
“None of the food being served is labeled saying that it’s gluten-free or not, which can be a little inconvenient,” Copeland said. “Sometimes, I get something, thinking it’s gluten-free only to bring it back to the table and realize it isn’t.”
Copeland also has the added struggle of being dairy-free. Because of this, sometimes “they just don’t have any food [I] can eat.”
One tip to help avoid feeling stuck at mealtimes: If you’re concerned about whether or not there will be adequate options for you, feel free to email the dining hall’s management team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, you can stop by the dining hall office anytime during operational hours to talk with the general manager or executive chef.
Another student, Kirby Meyer, follows a pescatarian diet.
“I know that every time I go to the Chat, there will be something there that I like and can eat, since I enjoy the vegan burger and the vegan chicken tenders,” Meyer said. “I’m a little picky so I’m not always a big fan of the [non-meat] options in the dining hall, but I always know that they’ll have pasta or something that I can eat.”
While she may not find it difficult to find foods that suit her needs, she does wish to see more vegan protein options.
“Occasionally, I’ll have to break my diet to get protein in because, sometimes, the [non-meat] protein options are lacking,” Meyer said.
If you’re finding yourself in a similar situation, consider filling out the QR codes that can be found around the dining hall. With just a few clicks, you can anonymously voice any concerns you may have to the dining staff.
Vegetarian Ben Lashbrook has found that there is a wide variety of both vegetarian and vegan options in the dining hall, however, they don’t always align with the type of cuisine being served to the rest of the student body.
“I had a quesadilla with whole carrots and squash in it,” Lashbrook said. “I feel like there could have been different vegetables and vegan protein options used instead, to make it feel closer to a quesadilla that students who eat meat would have.”
At the end of the day, Arcadia’s efforts to cater to these varying diets are commendable and each of these students is grateful for the options that they have (especially those vegan chicken tenders!).
With just a few tweaks, this good system could be made great. And, as a reminder to students reading this, don’t forget to fill out the surveys linked in the QR codes in the dining hall. Let your voice be heard and be the change you want to see!