The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog


Posted on July 21, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Charles Stahler

Times are certainly changing. When my son started scouts, the first year at camp he had to help prepare the regular troop meals, and then prepare all his own vegetarian food. The last several years he struggled to keep up his weight at camp as he ate around the 1950’s style food still being served. This year, amazingly, each night the camp had a tray of food using a meat alternative, as well as a primitive salad bar. My son and the scoutmaster who is now eating vegan feasted and my son actually came home not losing any weight. They were the only two vegetarians in the troop, but we’re guessing there were probably a few others staff or scouts at the camp who are vegetarian. Thank you to the chef who instituted these changes, as well as the food company which made the meat analogs, the food service distributor willing to carry the vegetarian options, and everyone who has spoken up in a positive way over the years.

Also, this month we did the food for an Boy Scout Eagle ceremony, so it happened to be vegan. Thank you to Whole Foods in Baltimore, which did a great fruit platter. Their fruit is always fresh, and they are always dependable. Also, thank you to One World Café in Baltimore which made a vegan cake with the Eagle Insignia, as well as three types of vegan cupcakes. We also served hummus with crackers and carrots, juice, carbonated fruit juice beverages (not the regular soda), and other treats. Though we and the scoutmaster are the only vegans and only one other person is even close to being vegetarian, the scouts and adults enjoyed the food and several asked for the source of the cake. It was especially joyful to watch one young boy who is lactose intolerant be thrilled that this was the first time he could have a piece of the cake at an event. Again, thank you to everyone who helps make change in a positive way.

Vegan Restaurants in U.S. & Canada Recently Added to our Restaurant Guide

Posted on July 18, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

These vegan restaurants were recently added to our online restaurant guide. To find restaurants in your area, please visit:

The Veg
400 President Clinton Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201

Presently the only completely vegan cafe/restaurant in the Little Rock area, The Veg provides a variety of vegan sandwich, burgers, salads, and pastry options. Don’t forget to enjoy some very highly praised Pecan Chocolate Chunk cookies.

The New Vegan
528 NE 2nd St.
Delray Beach, FL 33483

This restaurant offers great vegan options for brunch, lunch, and dinner. An American food based restaurant, they also offer raw foods and a juice bar.

The Cider Press Café
1201 Piper Blvd., Ste. 26
Naples, FL 343110

The Cider Press Cafe serves completely raw, vegan, and gluten free cuisine. There are many innovative and inspired dishes to choose from including the Pineapple Kimchi Dumplings and the Garden Lasagna. The menu also features a variety of fresh juices and smoothies. Or select from their many types of wine and sangria. Note that the menu indicates which wines are vegan. Reservations are accepted.

Nectar Café
175 Rock Rd.
Glen Rock, NJ 07452

Primarily a juice bar; however, they also serve a changing menu of vegan dishes and desserts.

Nu Asia Vegan Restaurant
4200 Central Ave SE
Albuquerque, NM 87108

This restaurant has lovely décor and an appealing ambiance. It boasts many vegan dishes including a large variety of sushi. They even offer all-you-can-eat options for both lunch and dinner. And after that you can get desserts ranging from vegan ice cream to banana chocolate spring rolls. Outdoor seating is available.

Sykamore Vegan Cuisine and Juice Bar
4029 Crutcher St.
Dallas, TX 75206

This small restaurant, run by a formally trained chef, offers both Asian and western dishes while also serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast options range from pan-fried dumplings to hash browns and biscuits. Other meals range from traditional Asian foods to vegetable wraps, all at affordable prices.

La Panthere Verte
145 Mont-Royal Ave., E.
Montreal, Quebec H2T 1N9

66 St-Viateur St.
Montreal, Quebec H2T 2K8

2153 Mackay St.
Montreal, Quebec H3G 2J2

La Panthere Verte, or The Green Panther, is a vegan and organic café with a focus on sustainability. All-star food items are the Falafel sandwich and Choco Maca smoothie. This restaurant charges a small fee for food containers so please make sure to bring your own or account for the extra cost. The Mont-Royal location is in the Plateau area. The St-Viateur location is in the Mile End. The Mackay location is downtown in Centre-Ville.


Posted on July 17, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Karen Leibowitz
VRG intern

The Vegetarian Resource Group hosted a booth at the Waverly Farmer’s Market in Baltimore. We had several meat-eaters approach us and pick up materials for their son or daughter. People had lots of questions for us because they had a family member or friend who is vegetarian. We noticed several people talk about the challenges of having food allergies, and referred them to our website for nut-free and gluten-free vegan meal plans. A local middle school teacher grabbed several coloring books and “Vegetarian Nutrition for Teenagers” brochures for her classroom. Other vendors approached our booth and thanked us for being there, because they were vegetarian and appreciated the outreach.

Hosting booths is rewarding because we have the opportunity to encourage people to explore vegetarianism/veganism by providing resources to make it easier.

If you would like to volunteer at VRG booths, contact Nina at

If you would like to intern at VRG go to

If you would like to support VRG outreach, donate at

To join VRG go to

White Castle Welcomes Vegetarians

Posted on July 14, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Karen Leibowitz

Famous for their petite square hamburgers and the restaurant’s appearance in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, White Castle is now serving veggie sliders in select New Jersey and New York locations (see list of locations below). And to a vegetarian’s relief, they are only 99 cents! A refreshing figure compared to other fast food chain veggie options. White Castle uses Dr. Praeger’s brand of veggie burgers for their sliders (see list of ingredients below). Judging by the hype from online vegetarian communities, it seems the taste has received positive reviews. If you have tried White Castle’s new veggie sliders, please comment with your thoughts.

Ingredients: Carrots, onions, string beans, oat bran, soybeans, zucchini, peas, broccoli, corn, soy flour, spinach, expeller pressed canola oil, red peppers, arrowroot, corn starch, garlic, corn meal, salt, parsley, black pepper.

Fun Fact: Kumar is a vegetarian on the set of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, the White Castle hamburgers he bit into had been replaced with veggie burgers.

Veggie sliders are available in the following locations for a limited time:

New Jersey

2995 Kennedy Blvd.
Jersey City 07306

987 U.S Highway 9
South Amboy 08879

8 LaFayette Rd.
Metuchen 08840

5151 Stelton Rd.
South Plainfield 07080

680 Somerset St.
New Brunswick 08901

New York

550 E. Fordham Rd.
Bronx 10467

213-17 Northern Blvd.
Bayside 11361

43-02 Queens Blvd.
Sunnyside 11104

175-28 Hillside Ave.
Jamaica 11432

2221 Hylan Blvd.
Staten Island 10306

During the month of July 2014 The Vegetarian Site will give 10% of Their Sales to The Vegetarian Resource Group

Posted on July 14, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Site ( supports a different non-profit organization each month. This month they have selected The Vegetarian Resource Group. The Vegetarian Site sells vegan footwear for men and women, belts, wallets, bags, and other accessories, food products, books, personal care items, plus much more.

Support VRG by shopping online at:


Posted on July 11, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

The following information is from Vegan in Volume, by Chef Nancy Berkoff, EdD, RD and published by The Vegetarian Resource Group. Special thanks to VRG intern Karen Abbe-Leibowitz for updating this section from the latest edition of the book. Karen is studying nutrition in college. You can order Vegan in Volume here and if you want to share vegan food service information (including recipes) with your local school, see:


Kids make eating an experience, perhaps unplanned on your part! Depending on the age of the children, design the menu to be easy to eat, relatively quick to serve, and to contain a variety of temperatures, colors, flavors, and textures.

Portion sizes should reflect the children’s ages. If you are following federal school food lunch guidelines (see below), be sure you have the portion sizes correct for the particular food you have on the menu. For example, peanut butter, beans, and commercially-prepared tofu may all be used as a meat alternative, but the portion sizes for each one differ. (See this PDF for meat alternates guide:

The USDA’s guidelines for school foods are constantly undergoing changes. With the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, schools are required to provide healthier food and beverage options. Menus are designed based on recommendations of the Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) (limit saturated fat to 10% of calories; limit sodium intake; choose a diet low in cholesterol; increase intake of fiber-containing foods; eat a variety of foods, etc.). (See pages 6, 24-25, and 71 of the following PDF:

Schools now have standards which offer a wider variety and increased amount of fruits and vegetables served, and allow commercially-prepared tofu as a meat alternate. This could be good news for vegans, as the selection and amounts of ingredients would have a wider range. The USDA school lunch program is in a constant state of revision so you should be sure to keep up on current changes (a good source for this is the USDA’s website at:


This information is pertinent to those concerned with elementary, middle, and high schools receiving USDA reimbursement. The following resources are USDA tools for nutrition education and healthy meal preparation in schools. These materials can be accessed by your local school food service director and are also found online.

• The HEALTHY MEALS RESOURCE SYSTEM is a resource for food service staff and chefs that contains quantity menus and recipes with several vegetarian (no meat, fish or fowl, but including dairy, honey, and eggs) and vegan (no meat, fish, fowl, dairy, eggs, or honey) options – be sure to thoroughly check ingredient lists as some meal titles sound like they may be vegetarian but are not. The recipes have nutritional analyses, state the food group (meat alter-native, fruit, etc.), and many include photographs for garnish suggestions. The recipes section also provides links to PDF files of cookbooks and recipe collections for quantity school lunch meal preparation.

• The FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLE (FFVP) TOOKLIT provides templates, handouts, and other resources to help implement a successful fruit and vegetable program. The program allows a wider variety of produce for students, including those enrolled for free and reduced-price meals. This would provide more options for vegetarian students.

• The SPECIAL DIETS PAGE on the USDA website provides a link to a wealth of resources concerning vegetarian diets. Includes MyPlate tips for vegetarians, handouts, lesson plans, recipes for food service, and other materials.

The USDA materials are a good resource to become familiar with because they have been approved by the USDA for use in the schools. For this reason, when working with schools which receive government reimbursement and must follow USDA rules, we suggest you start with the resources mentioned above. These are already being used in many school systems and meet the requirements outlined by the government. Commodity ingredients are also something to be familiar with since they are often incorporated into many of the recipes. Commodities are food ingredients available to the schools through the federal government for free or at greatly reduced prices. Commodities allow school food services to operate within their budgets and to serve meals to more children. In the past, vegetarian commod-ities have included varieties of dried and canned beans, peanut butter, dried and canned fruit, vegetables, and rice. Commodities vary depending on the avail-ability, year, and region. The school food service director is expected to take advantage of the commodities program whenever possible. (See this webpage for current commodity foods available:

Remember the constraints under which school food service personnel must work. They usually have tight budgets and a very short time period to feed a large number of children. Their menus and food preparation techniques must follow very precise guidelines. Change is a long and detailed process, but happens. For example, soy yogurt can now be exchanged for dairy yogurt in breakfast smoothies. (See: http://www. Have patience with your local school food service personnel and understand that they may need assistance in adding vegetarian/vegan menu options. For example, rather than asking for vegan options in general, have some suggestions prepared. We have included some vegan recipe names below that appear in the HEALTHY MEALS RESOURCE SYSTEM. You might want to suggest them when speaking with your school food service staff.

New items which are added to school menus must fit nutritional standards for breakfast and lunch, must fit into the school’s budget, and must be able to be produced on a large scale (and may have to withstand freezing, reheating, or being transported). (See for a guide to USDA meal requirements for school lunches.)

An important part of meal planning is making sure the food provided is accepted by the students. The Offer versus Serve (OVS) policy states that students must be offered all five components of lunch (fruit, vegetable, meat/ meat alternate, etc.), but may decline up to two of the five. This policy is optional in elementary and middle schools, but required in high schools. Nutrition education is an important part of the student’s decision in declining or accepting a food. However, short meal periods allow little or no nutrition education to occur in eating areas. Some other methods of nutrition education are including nutrition education in teachers’ lesson plans, or implementing taste testing periods or other events to introduce students to new healthy foods (See the Special Diets page for lesson plans). Some schools have budgets for nutrition education and some do not.

The more you can bring in grant money, children, parents, the PTA, local merchants, and approved recipes, the easier the transition for the Director. Also many schools run on menu cycles in order to help with costs because they can project their expenditures. This may be a slight obstacle if the Director is really tied to the cycle menus; however, it is not insurmountable. Any changes
to the menu means new recipes have to be printed, tested, scaled correctly, meet serving size guidelines for the day and week, taught to the cooks, new production sheets generated, and priced. All this requires time and money and therefore patience on your behalf.


School breakfast and lunch guidelines require that children receive at least one-fourth and one-third, respectively, of their daily nutrition and energy needs.

The USDA provides an online resource center of a large variety of samples menus that are in full compliance with the USDA guidelines. Some are listed below:

• Best Practices Sharing Center
• Menus That Move: Cycle Menus and Recipes
• Healthier Kansas Menus

Note: Currently, there are federal school regulations that govern the type and use of soy permitted. The regulations change, so be sure to check periodically. Specifications for tofu and soy yogurt:

Regulations on meat alternates: 6967e402df712f14a1e064a3d738a564&ty=HTML&h=L&r=PART&n=7y4.


Posted on July 11, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group recently received the following message:

Hello. My name is Stacy Howell and I work with a non-profit organization that looks for families to host international students. We have some students that are vegetarian. These students are usually the most difficult students to find good homes for. I wanted to reach out to you and see if any one you know may be interested in hosting a student. For more information, see

Here is a one student we are trying to place:
Justin from the Netherlands is a sportive guy. He likes soccer a lot, but also likes to swim. He received 8 swimming diploma’s and is very proud of that. He looks very well after his body, eats healthy, is a vegetarian but is able to adapt to a new situation and to adjust. He also trains at a sportcentre. He likes to watch movies with his friends and has a close family. He would like to have a close HF as well. He wants to learn new sports, like USA Football and basketball. In the future he would like to start his own company

Thank you for your time.

All the Best,
Stacy Howell
Louisiana Regional Coordinator
EF High School Exchange Year
(225) 620-7218

Nutrition News for Children

Posted on July 09, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

“Nutrition News for Children” is from Vegan in Volume, published by The Vegetarian Resource Group. This fantastic vegan quantity recipe cookbook is written by Chef Nancy Berkoff, EdD, RD. Special thanks to VRG intern Karen Abbe-Leibowitz for updating this section from the latest edition of the book. You can order Vegan in Volume here: If you want to share vegan food service information (including recipes) with chefs and others, see:

As children grow, so do their vitamin and mineral needs. Vitamins A,C, E, and the minerals calcium, iron, and zinc may be low, because children who may not care for the foods in which they are contained use these nutrients quite quickly.

Remember that hydration is important for children, as they may become dehydrated without becoming thirsty. Make every ounce count toward good nutrition by offering soy or rice milk (flavor it with puréed fruit or garnish it with an apple slice or an orange wedge), fruit juices, vegetable juices, or even water! Freeze puréed fruit, fruit juice, or chocolate soy or rice milk to create frozen treats that help to hydrate.

The USDA’s MyPlate guide is an illustration of the recommended portions of the five food groups. It is a fun learning tool for children and an easy guide for adults to follow. The MyPlate website provides a detailed daily food plan based on the age of the child. In the table below, we have included a vegan kids’ version of the daily food plan.


Support VRG with iGive!

Posted on July 07, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

You can now help support VRG when you shop online with iGive! When you make a purchase through iGive, from one of the 1,482 online retailers available, a percentage of the proceeds are donated to The VRG. The best part is, there are absolutely no extra costs for you!

It’s a great time to get started with iGive because for each new person who joins in July, $5 will automatically be donated to The VRG. Click here to get started with iGive today!

Donations allow our organization to continue vegan education and outreach nationwide! We appreciate your support!

Don’t wish to use iGive but would still like to donate? Check out or direct donation page:

July 2014: The Vegetarian Site Donates 10% of Their Sales to VRG

Posted on July 02, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

During the month of July 2014, The Vegetarian Site will give 10% of their sales to The Vegetarian Resource Group!

The Vegetarian Site ( supports a different non-profit organization each month. This month they have selected The Vegetarian Resource Group. The Vegetarian Site sells vegan footwear for men and women, belts, wallets, bags, and other accessories, food products, books, personal care items, plus much more.

Support VRG by shopping online at:

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