By Gianna Mautone, VRG Intern
As a senior at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, I have seen our dining services transition over the past four years toward a more student-oriented menu. As a vegetarian myself, and conscious about eating healthy, well-balanced meals, I have learned to be creative when purchasing meals on campus to suit my dietary preferences. Loyola Dining implements surveys and student forums in order to hear students’ voices about what they desire for meal options at school. There is also a student dining committee that all students are invited to join. I have found that Loyola’s dining services truly try to make accommodations based off of student input and preferences.
Loyola does not have a mandatory meal plan like some colleges, but rather, all items are a la carte (paid for individually). This option can be an advantage for students with special dietary preferences because students are able to pick and choose items from various dining establishments on campus, without feeling restricted to buy from a set location or to use up dining ‘points’ for the day.
Dining options on campus include a number of chain establishments such as Moe’s Southwest Grill, WoW Cafe and Wingery, Boar’s Head Deli, Starbucks, and Red Mango. Other dining locations include Vocelli Pizza, Savor (homestyle cooking), Ikigaii Sushi, Iggy’s Market (offering packaged market and convenience items) and Iggy’s Express (offering homestyle meals), as well as a pasta bar, salad bar, Bagels & Spreads counter, and Simply To Go items. Each dining establishment on campus offers vegetarian options, though finding vegan options may require more creativity. It is possible to dine on campus as a vegan, though, and there is always a possibility to have your voice heard in order to implement further changes to Loyola’s dining options.
Below is a sampling of the vegetarian and vegan options available across Loyola’s campus for each meal of the day.
- In the morning, Loyola’s dining cafe offers fresh oatmeal with vegan toppings. Some vegetarian breakfast items such as pancakes are also available, though not much on the vegan front.
- Starbucks offers soymilk as a vegan option in drinks. Starbucks’ oatmeal, which is made with water and served with a choice of nuts and/or dried fruit makes for a satisfying vegan breakfast.
- Packaged granola bars and energy bars are also always available for purchase, including ‘Cliff’ bars (most of which are vegan).
- ‘Simply To Go’ fresh cut fruit cups offered daily.
- ‘Naked’ juices (most of which are vegan, besides “Protein Zone” smoothies, which contain Whey, a milk-derived protein).
Lunch & Dinner:
- Loyola’s salad bar offers an extensive selection of vegetarian options, and is priced by weight. Vegan toppings include a variety of fresh greens, raw veggies, tofu, beans, hummus, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, fresh fruit, pita bread, etc. There are also soups offered daily, usually one of which is vegetarian.
- Savor is a homestyle cooking option that offers a rotating menu. Each day should include vegetarian options such as, Mediterranean Vegetable Pita, Mediterranean Vegetable Burger, Falafel, and Polenta Stuffed Pepper. Roasted vegetables, couscous barley salad, potatoes and Mediterranean salad are some of the veggie sides available.
- Moe’s Southwest Grill serves burritos, burrito bowls, tacos, quesadillas, etc. No matter which Southwestern variety you select, the individual toppings/fillings are up to you, making it easy to customize a vegan meal. An example vegan option would be rice, beans, guacamole, tofu, salsa, lettuce, and tomato served in a bowl. Filling, satisfying, and vegan!
- Ikigaii Sushi – Our sushi bar hand-prepares rolls every day. Vegetable sushi, spring rolls (wrapped in rice paper), and fresh seaweed salad are delicious vegan options.
- Iggy’s offers prepared foods, with a more home-cooked feel. While the menu offerings are always changing, there should consistently be vegetarian options available. I enjoy the roasted, seasoned veggies from Iggy’s. Other vegetarian options may include rice, couscous and barley dishes with veggies, baked beans, chickpea salad, and polenta. Iggy’s is also an on-campus market where packaged items, snacks, and bulk bins are available.
- Boar’s Head Deli offers a variety of vegetable toppings and cheese that create a substantial sandwich or wrap. The cheese can be left off for a vegan sub, though this is not a very substantial meal option.
- Vocelli’s Pizza offers Italian cuisine, with vegetarian options including vegetarian ciabatta, Mediterranean salad, and veggie pizza. Vegan options are limited, aside from pasta with marinara sauce and a Mediterranean salad, without cheese.
- Bagels and Spreads – Bagels are a quick vegan option, though peanut butter and jelly are probably the only vegan spreads available.
Nearby off-campus locations that are vegan/vegetarian friendly do accept the student ‘Evergreen’ cards (from which money is deducted with each purchase). Off-campus dining is a convenient option that allows you to mix up your meals while also getting the opportunity to enjoy the surrounding community. Often, there will be formal dinners on campus for student groups, organizations, or awards ceremonies. For these catered events, students and staff always have a vegetarian and vegan option. Be sure to communicate your dietary preferences, because the catering staff is equipped to meet students’ needs.
While it is not difficult to find vegetarian options at Loyola, I have yet to see extensive vegan options (such as vegan desserts and dairy-alternatives) on campus. As I previously mentioned, Loyola’s Dining Services are accommodating to student feedback, so inquiring and getting your voice heard is important if there is something more that you wish to see on campus.