Students veg out with meatless options


Samantha Boyle

LAR dining hall offers a vegan egg substitute from JUST Eggs, which comes in both liquid and patty forms. The substitute is made out of mung beans and will help expand food options for students with special dietary needs.

By Ayse Pirge, Staff Writer

Staying healthy during the school year can be hard. For those with dietary restrictions, it is important to know the options available for students on campus. 

Meggie Gaddy, senior in ACES, is a member of University Vegetarians, an RSO that began as a graduate club. Gaddy said this group “focused a lot on University dining, and they actually collaborated with them to get these (vegan) options on the table.” 

While staying at Allen Hall her freshman year, Gaddy and her friend Haley Ware, also a member of University Vegetarians, found a great all-vegetarian dining hall called Field of Greens.

“They serve all vegetarian food, like a stir-fry maker, and the stir fry even has vegan meat and you can add all your veggies or rice or noodles to it,” Gaddy said.

Ware added sometimes they even have vegan cookies.

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Besides the LAR dining hall, Gaddy said dining at the Ikenberry Commons is also a good choice that always serves at least one vegan option.

Gaddy said she thinks University dining has improved since she was eating in the dining halls as a freshman. She said the options available now were not as accessible before she came to campus.

“The majority of dining halls provide at least one (option) — they might not be the most appetizing options, sometimes,” she said. “I know from personal experience being at Allen Hall that vegan option would just be a mixture of vegetables or something, not ideal.”

The Daily Illini File Photo
The Dancing Dog Eatery and Juicery is located at 126 W. Main St. in Urbana. The restuarant serves as one of the many vegan options in the area.

She said that it is nice they have any option at all.

Gaddy said in the future of the University Vegetarians club, they would like to continue to push for even more options that are not just healthy but also appetizing and compete well with the other non-vegan options. Gaddy thinks the school dining is willing to add these options, but said people just have to make it known they want them. 

She said students do not have to go very far on campus to find vegan options outside of the dining halls as well.

“There’s a new place called Signature Grill that we’ve just tried, and they have a really good Indian curry base dish with a chickpea masala that’s really great, and then there’s a lot of Thai foods and other Indian restaurants.” she said.

Ware also said Taco Bell, which she called, “the easiest vegan fast-food place, besides Burger King, which now carries the impossible burger.”

University Vegetarians has an upcoming event which will bring people to a farm animal sanctuary. The idea is for everyone to go around the sanctuary interacting with the animals. This way, people who may not have interacted with farm animals before now can see them in a different light. This gives them a look at farm animals other than in an industrial setting so they can see the animals as individuals, not just products.

“A lot of spots on campus just have vegan food in general,” said Andres Munoz, senior in LAS.

Munoz stayed in a residence hall during his freshman year and said he always went to Field of Greens and the Dancing Dog.

“There’s also a ton of options at the (Ikenberry dining hall), and they have, like, the impossible burger now, which is just like a brand name vegan burger that they provide.”

He also said one of the main reasons he came to Illinois is because the school was rated one of the top schools for vegans.

Munoz said he thought it would be cool to have a focus group with just people who are vegan to meet with people who are responsible for choosing what kind of food is in the dining halls.

“Having a little support group with people that are vegan and also people that know about nutrition, because I know a lot of vegans struggle with getting the exact nutrients that they need, would be nice to have,” he said. “(There are) options available all over campus that provide all the iron and protein and everything.”

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