CHS Doesn’t Supply For Vegans

Lunch, the part of the day that seemingly all students look forward to. After a long morning, they are able to talk with friends, do homework, and ultimately have that much-needed 40 minutes to themselves. But perhaps most importantly, they can eat the food needed to make it through the final push of the day. Lunch is a time to re-energize. However, for some vegan students at CHS, lunch may be more difficult than it has to be.
A vegan is generally known as a person who does not use or eat animal products. There are many different yet compelling reasons to adopt a vegan diet, typically falling under environmental, ethical, and dietary categories. Researchers at the University of Oxford found that going vegan could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint by up to 73 percent. Many vegans believe consuming animal products is a violation of animal rights and interests. A well-planned vegan diet is reported to reduce risk of heart disease and lower excess caloric intake.
Veganism, as it continues to be socially normalized, is on the rise. It is reported that more Americans are switching to a vegan diet each year and many studies conclude that the number of vegans under the age of 35 are increasing the fastest. Based on these reports, there are, without a doubt, a significant number of vegans at CHS and there is no indication of this amount decreasing any time soon. With this in mind, it is about time that CHS starts accommodating to vegans.
Take one glance at the lunch carts standing in central quad during lunch and it is obvious that CHS has nearly nothing for vegans to purchase. Students have the option of pizza, a chicken sandwich or wrap, a hamburger, rice and teriyaki chicken, ground beef tacos, nachos, or caesar salad (complete with a creamy dressing and cheese). If a student following a vegan diet does not happen to have a packed lunch for the day, the only real options available are oranges and apples. While fruit typically makes a good lunch side, anyone can agree that an apple and orange alone does not make for an adequate meal.
On the CUSD Food and Nutrition Services website, they claim to “provide students with access to a variety of affordable and appealing foods that meet the health and nutrition needs of students.” However, considering that a high majority of food options at CHS include some type of meat, it is evident that “variety” is not valued anywhere near this claim.
CUSD also makes it clear that lunch options meet state and federal requirements based on the USDA Dietary Guidelines. However, the USDA Dietary Guidelines reduce sodium intake and value limiting calories from added sugars and saturated fats. Although both vegan and non-vegan diets have the potential to include the same amounts of added sugar and sodium, vegan options can be much more beneficial in terms of limiting calories and saturated fats. Saturated fats are mainly found in dairy and meat products, which are present in nearly all the non-vegan food options during lunch.
Overall, it is in CHS’ best interest to provide vegan options during lunch. In order to encourage variety, better follow USDA guidelines, and ultimately accommodate students, at least one vegan lunch option should be provided during lunch. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, vegans at CHS will not have to stress everyday about a packed lunch, and options will go beyond fruit alone.