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How to lead a vegan or vegetarian diet in the dining halls

Having a vegan or vegetarian diet on campus can be a difficult task. In addition to the trouble of making sure you get the right nutrients to replace meat and dairy, it can be an arduous task to find vegan or vegetarian suitable food in the first place. Luckily, at Colorado State University, which was just named the most sustainable university in the nation, it is easy to pursue a meatless or dairy-free diet.

Vegans and vegetarians have just as much right to the freshman 15 as everyone else, so here are the best options available at each dining hall.

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Rams Horn Express/Durrell Express

Rams Horn and Durrell Express are perfect for late night munchies or for food on-the-go, located at Rams Horn and Durrell dining halls respectively.

Both locations offer a massive amount of light vegan and vegetarian foods, including hummus and crackers, salads, soups and assorted snacks. At Rams Horn Express, coffee can be made with soy or rice milk, while at Durrell, there are dairy-free sorbet desserts available. Both locations are perfect for picking up a drink on the way to class, or grabbing study food and a coffee for a long night ahead.

Ram’s Horn

Ram’s Horn dining center is located in the southwest area of campus at the Academic Village dorms, above Ram’s Horn Express.

Rams Horn’s Mongolian grill lets you choose your own noodles, veggies and sauces, which range in heat from mild to very spicy, to be cooked together into a dish packed with flavor. Tofu, tempeh or seitan are offered as alternatives to the meat options, and the sauces and proteins are labeled vegan and vegetarian respectively.

Rams Horn’s Cactus Junction serves burritos, tacos and taco salads at lunch. All tortillas, beans, guacamole and salsas are vegan, and there is one vegan salsa available each day.

Durrell

Durrell dining hall is located in the northwest side of campus, near Pinon and Westfall residence halls and above Durrell Express.

Durrell’s pasta station gives students the opportunity to create their own pasta dishes. Vegan and vegetarian sauces are offered, as well as a variety of vegan and vegetarian proteins, including seitan, tofu and vegetable crumbles. Rice is also available alongside soy sauce and sriracha sauce. In keeping with the eastern theme, do-it-yourself vegan spring rolls will also be offered in the fall at Durrell dining center.

Durrell’s make your own pizza station has vegan cheese available for this coming year. Vegan cheese, as I am sure most of you are aware, is very expensive and hard to come across, so I recommend eating as much pizza as you can before you are kicked out.

Braiden

Braiden dining hall is attached to Braiden residence hall, conveniently right in the middle of campus. 

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Braiden is home to RamWich, a sub and sandwich station where you can order sandwiches on a variety of breads with cheeses, vegetables, sauces and seasonings inside. If you are looking to cut carbs, RamWich offers wraps and a lot of vegetable options, as well as hummus to replace meat in your meal.

Part of this dining half stays open late and becomes Braiden Late Night. Braiden Late Night has ice cream for vegetarians and vegan cookies available for tired, munchie-craving students.

Corbett

Corbett dining hall is located in the northern part of campus, near Corbett residence hall and behind the Recreational Center. 

Similarly to Rams Horn, Corbett is home to a Sizzlin’ Salads station and a Cactus Junction station, for salads and burritos/tacos respectively.

This year, Corbett will be introducing a station just for vegetarians and vegans alike, which is very exciting because it will be so much easier for vegans and vegetarians to find delicious, catered food during the meal times. This station will be available for lunch and dinner only during the school week.

All dining halls

These are just the highlights of what each individual dining hall offers vegan and vegetarian students. The following options are available at every single dining hall.

  • Vegetarian or vegan soup with crackers available.
  • Veggie burgers with vegan cheese available on request and vegetarian nuggets at all grill stations.
  • Scrambled tofu and scrambled egg in the morning, as well as omelets.
  • Granola and cereal options with soy, almond and rice milks.
  • Yogurt served at all dining halls is gelatin free, and vegetarian suitable.

All dining halls will also start serving only vegetarian and vegan food Mondays for dinner in an effort to start a meatless Monday campaign. Not many details have been shared about this new campaign, but it will be very beneficial for vegans and vegetarians alike, according to CSU’s Nutrition and Wellness Programs Manager Brittney Stuard.

Stuard, a lifelong vegetarian, offers this nutritional advice to students who want to begin a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle in August when classes begin:

  • Choose whole grains most often to get adequate amounts of B vitamins, zinc and iron, as well as other important vitamins and minerals that could become devoid in a vegan/vegetarian diet.
  • Have a good source of vitamin B12, either through fortified foods or supplements if you follow a mainly vegan diet.
  • Find alternative sources of calcium and vitamin D, such as milk alternatives like soy and rice milks and dark leafy green veggies.
  • Choose fewer sweets with added sugars as they provide minimal nutritional value.
  • Remember to eat a variety of protein sources such as nuts, seeds, legumes, soy, dairy, eggs and grains daily to compliment protein sources.  For example: beans and rice, peanut butter and whole grain bread, pasta and tofu, and nutty granola.

Collegian Reporter Erik Petrovich can be reached at news@collegian.com and on Twitter @EAPetrovich.

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  • D

    Dinah SchmeltzAug 13, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Thanks for such an informative article! As a college student myself I know that it is easier than ever to eat vegan at school. And I’ve found websites like ChooseVeg.com to be helpful in suggesting delicious recipes for when I want to ditch the dining hall and cook for myself 🙂

    Reply