By Natalie Allen VRG Intern
REPORT FROM NEVADA
As a vegan teenager, it can often be hard to find food options at school. Aramark, a company that provides school districts across the country with meal plans, runs my school district’s food service and therefore dictates what foods are offered at my high school. Since I am vegan, I have never eaten at my high school’s cafeteria but little did I know that it is easy to find food options for a vegan at one’s school cafeteria.
Recently, my school district has introduced a food truck, which visits a different high school every day each week. The food truck has provided students with a fun new eating experience which should end up generating more money for the school district, considering the escalating popularity of the food truck trend in the past few years. My school also has snack carts stationed around campus for kids who do not want to go to the cafeteria to buy their food or for those just looking to buy snacks. Along with this, my school has a designated area in which students can buy snacks and all of the profits made directly go back into our school. This student store has no affiliation with Aramark. It is called the Cougar Den (our mascot is a cougar!) At the Cougar Den, students are able to buy various snacks including snack bars, juices, chips, and gum. Many of the items there are vegan.
I had the chance to interview the assistant manager in the cafeteria and on the food truck, Niki Allen, and she answered some of the questions I had regarding eating as a vegan at school.
VRG: What kind of vegan options are available to students in the cafeteria?
Niki: In the kitchen, there are no vegan entrees, but a vegan student can still order a side salad with another hot or cold veggie side dish, up to two fruits, and two whole wheat dinner rolls, along with a juice or water.
VRG: On the carts around campus?
Niki: Many snacks on the carts are vegan including, some of the chip flavors, kid Clif bars, and Naked Juices.
VRG: On the food truck?
Niki: Every week the meals on the food truck change and every week we offer a vegetarian entree. Although not every week is the vegetarian entree vegan, some of the entrees including the veggie burger and fried rice are vegan. As for the snacks, the Kid Clif bars, some chip flavors, and Naked Juices are all vegan.
In my interview with Mrs. Allen, she explained to me the ins and outs of ordering as a vegan in the cafeteria, on the food truck, and around campus. Mrs. Allen was very kind and was happy to answer my questions. Now that I have the knowledge of what options are available to me, I will be choosing to eat at school more often and advertising this information to all of my vegan and vegetarian friends! With a little research, I have discovered that vegan options can be found everywhere. It is reassuring to know that every day as a vegan I am able to eat at my school. By eating at school I will be able to buy extra snacks if I am hungry or buy a full meal if I forgot to pack a lunch or didn’t want to. I hope that sharing these tips will help you to realize that choosing to be a vegan should not limit your ability to find healthy and delicious meals and snacks everywhere you go. Now lettuce eat!