Vegans share their opinions to gain representation for their lifestyle at the River.
As popularity in the veganism diet increases, some students at the River are joining the other teenagers that represent ⅙ of the vegan population (according to The Guardian). Being vegan consists of not eating or using any products produced by or part of an animal. Although it seems restrictive, the differences in health are supposed to be significant: better sleep, more energy and enhanced focus are some reported effects of veganism.
The River maintains their goal to use Manatee County’s guidelines for healthy living and serve students the proper amount of food that consists of the main food groups. The cafeteria offers a plethora of options for breakfast and lunch for people without dietary regulations, and there is always a salad bar line as well as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in any line available for vegetarians.
However, vegan options at the River are limited, as many places are. Some students have their own opinions on what the River could do to make these vegans feel more represented in the lunchroom. Here are those suggestions…
Hannah Tracey, 10th grade:
“I think the items that should be offered in the cafeteria as vegan options should be tofu as a meat substitute, or beans – either black, pinto, kidney, red or even lentils because these items cost less per pound than the average pack of chicken breast. The school should easily be able to afford these items. It would also provide a good source of nutrition to those of us who are vegan, much more so than the options available to us at this point in time.”
Kayla Estling, 12th grade:
“There isn’t one specific thing that I would want because you can really veganize any meal, but the ideal meal would probably be pizza because it’s easy to make vegan and is a very simple meal they already serve every day in the cafeteria.”
Kiya Resner, 12th grade:
“I honestly know vegan options are not cheap and the school has to stay in a certain budget, but offering at least more vegetarian options and not having meat in every meal [would be helpful].”
Andrew Landers 10th grade:
“[The salad bar and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches] are somewhat nutritious, but in order to adequately accommodate for a plant-based diet, a wider variety of proteins, vegetables and whole grains should be introduced. Quinoa, for example, is a whole grain, rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and essential nutrients. Not to mention, quinoa goes great with salad. More hearty vegan items such as beans or potato dishes that are rich in protein and vitamins are not only more filling than the current options but are incredibly good for you.”
Students are constantly encouraged to embrace their fullest selves. Making changes to accompany people with dietary restrictions is just another way the school community could create a more equitable environment. Not only would adapting to changes in the lunchroom be beneficial to vegans, but it would also help students who are vegetarians or have gluten allergies, for example. This overall idea of adding to the cafeteria menu could create a staggering impact across the student body.