Being a vegetarian in Baylor’s dining halls can be difficult

By AJ Key | Reporter

It’s simple –– you cannot be a healthy vegetarian at Baylor University. Baylor has four dining halls and each one serves its own style of food. This is great, but almost everything has meat cooked into it, was preserved with a meat or is cooked with a meat fat. Don’t get me wrong, there are fantastic options such as the salad bar. However, being a vegetarian I cannot eat that all the time.

The Penland Crossroads, Baylor’s all-purpose dining hall, has a large variety of food along with stations such as Mexican, grill and even home-cooked food. I love the fact that Penland has all types of food, and a decent amount of options from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. After 8 p.m. at Penland, or any other dining hall on campus, the food that a vegetarian can eat is scarce. Our options are limited to french fries, pizza or cereal, which are all carbohydrates. They’re not bad for your body but, too much of one thing is not healthy.

Personally, I had to find a way to survive and be creative while I had a meal plan here at Baylor. I learned that if I am going to be up late studying one night, then I need to go to a dining hall during the day and get my favorite options when they are available. I would go home and store food in my refrigerator until I was hungry later on that day.

Another thing that helped was checking online to see what the menu options were so that I could decide where to eat. I often got veggies and fruits from the salad bar or a veggie pasta that I could reheat for when I had a late night in Moody.

Baylor could improve their support for vegetarians by making sure that there is always nutritional food for all dietary restrictions. Other nutritional options besides fruits and veggies include a vegetarian pasta or even a wrap with beans as the protein source. Another option could be a rice bowl with beans, cheese, tomatoes, spinach and other vegetables.

A system that can be put in place is scanning the vegetarians that have meal plans to know how much food needs to be prepared during late night. Using stickers as a process to identify a vegetarian could also help, so that they can walk up to someone who works in the dining hall and request a meal that would already be prepared.

Baylor should offer more vegetarian options because not only is it student friendly, but it can also help save money. It is a fact that vegetarians spend less money on groceries than meat-eaters do. Students who eat meat can also expand their options to eat the vegetarian options. Baylor has been focusing a lot on diversity recently, which is great. But I think they should remember that there are different types of diversity, including diversity in diets.