PHOTOS BY: ANH NGUYEN
Mid-afternoon munchies paired with sinking energy levels produce high demand for the hundreds of entrées and eats offered at CSULB. For vegan students; however, restaurants on campus can provide more questions than orders.
Both vegetarian and vegan diets exclude meat and fish. Vegans exclude all animal by-products from their diet while vegetarians may consume dairy and or eggs.
Michelle Loy, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and CSULB Professor, points out the benefits of a plant-based diet.
“Fruits and vegetables are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals; which are plant based compounds that have health benefits to them. A lot of these things you don’t get from animal based foods,” Loy said.
With the right planning, Loy said vegans could obtain all of the protein and nutrients necessary in maintaining proper health. Vitamin-rich nuts and seeds provide plant-based sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Dark leafy greens and protein-packed legumes provide calcium, iron and other vital nutrients.
“It’s kind of a myth that people who practice vegetarianism or veganism can’t get enough protein because there are actually a lot of other sources of protein outside of meat,” Loy said.
Vegetarians count for approximately five percent of the U.S. population, with half identifying as vegan, according to a 2014 Harris Interactive study.
Demand for animal-free meals on campus continues to grow as students are increasingly adopting plant-based diets due to ethical beliefs, environmental concerns and/or health reasons.
Attention vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, flexitarians and the veg-curious! Here are CSULB’s vegan options:
Order the Nugget Grill & Pub’s Garden Burger (no dressing) lettuce wrap style, with a side of regular, seasoned, or sweet potato fries. The side salad, field of greens salad (hold the candied pecans) and oatmeal are vegan.
The side salad with balsamic vinaigrette and the Ultimate Caprese salad (no mozzarella) with balsamic vinaigrette at the Nugget Express is vegan.
Try Beach Walk’s avocado bowl! The Grain Bowl, Grain Wrap, PB & J and fresh fruit bowl is also vegan. Skip the side of garlic toast with the strawberry kale salad (no feta cheese).
Sip on the lemonades, fruit smoothies and coolers at Squeeze Me.
George’s Greek Café offers two hearty vegan meals, the falafel sandwich and the falafel burger. Order with fries or salad, rice is cooked with chicken broth. The falafel, French fries, tzatziki dip and hummus dip are vegan. When ordering the Greek salad, skip the feta cheese and add falafel for protein.
Located to the right of Starbucks, The Chartroom provides a continually rotating menu accompanied by a salad bar with fresh fruit. Past vegan entrées include tofu stir-fry, garden vegetable stew, black bean soup and green beans.
Build a Subway sandwich on Italian (white) bread with any and all vegetables. Vegan condiments include mustard (yellow and deli-brown), red wine vinegar, oil, Subway Vinaigrette, buffalo sauce and sweet onion sauce. Sides include Lay’s Classic chips, Sun Chips Original and Oven Baked Lay’s.
The vegan option at El Pollo Loco is the BRC Burrito (hold the cheese), with a side order of broccoli, pinto beans, or corn.
The hash brown nuggets and CrissCut fries at Carl’s Jr is vegan, along with the tortilla chips, guacamole, salsa and side salad with low-fat balsamic vinaigrette (hold the cheese and croutons).
Sbarro offers a vegan side order of veggies.
Most drinks offered at Robek’s Juice can be made vegan. Avoid dairy items including yogurt, frozen yogurt and whey protein. Vegan food items include the Acai Especial Bowl and fresh fruit.
Coffee Bean’s vegan drinks include tea, iced tea lemonade, sweet tea, Tea Granita, coffee, Americano, espresso shot(s) and red eye. Vegan snacks include various fruit bars.
Outpost Grill’s oatmeal, French fries, sweet potato fries, side salad with vinaigrette dressing and Greek salad with vinaigrette dressing (no feta cheese) are vegan. Order the Three Grain Veggie Burger (no tarragon sauce) and the Veggie Dog bun-free. Veggie wraps contain dairy.
Starbucks offers a variety of vegan coffees, teas and Frappuccinos. Order drinks with coconut milk or soymilk without the whip cream. Avoid caramel drizzles, java chips, protein powder, anything White Mocha and various seasonal/specialty drinks. While many drinks can be made vegan following these guidelines, others cannot. Vegan food items include fruit salad, dried fruit, oatmeal and various nuts.
CSULB’s Convenience stores are stocked with a selection of vegan goodies such as nuts, veggie chips, pita chips and fresh fruit.
Whenever hunger strikes, ditch the questions, grab a spot in line and refer to DIG’s guide!