It is always a struggle to eat healthier and stay active, especially for college students. A juicy cheeseburger while watching Netflix is often more appealing than eating a salad and taking a jog around the neighborhood
However, for some people, being a vegan or vegetarian is just a way of life.
Nationwide, college campuses are supporting a new trend towards vegetarianism and plant-based eating. According to Tracy Conder, Old Dominion’s registered dietician, students have come to her concerned about healthier eating, concerning family health histories and cheaper and easier ways of eating.
You may have heard of “Meatless Monday,” which has been very popular in K-12 and is now expanding to college campuses.
It’s been around for a while, dating back to World War I where it encouraged people to do their part in the war. Now it aims to better people’s health and the environment.
“If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted veggies or grains, it would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads,” said Ashley Rhinehart, a member of the Humane Society.
The majority of Americans consume meat, but fast food and service industries prove that meat free is a fast growing request.
With all of the quick fast food options and pizza places on and nearby campus, it may seem more convenient just to eat there. However, there are many benefits to eating healthier.
There are many students who want to eat better or who are vegan or vegetarian, but just don’t know of the many options that are available at ODU. Some students believe that there aren’t vegan and vegetarian options available on campus.
“I’m a vegan and it is so hard to eat out in general. I don’t even bother trying to eat at campus,” Tonomi Watkins, junior, said.
Conder said that there are healthier options at ODU, and the dining halls provide portion plates to help students control the amount of food they consume and making sure to hit all of those important food groups.
There is also a whole gluten free section in Café 1201 Conder said. ODU is certified to sell gluten free products and the staff has gluten free and cross contamination training as of Jan. 25.
There are healthy and vegetarian options at all of the dining facilities and even catering on campus including tofu, garden burgers, salad bars, Subway, the juice bar, and much more.
There are also events and activities that teach students healthier options. The Student Recreation and Wellness Center offers exercise classes and programs, as well as a gym with basketball courts and a rock climbing wall.
According to both Rhinehart and Conder, this campus-wide health kick is going to expand and improve in the future.