Eating Vegetarian in Virginia Tech’s Dining Centers

Regardless of the reason you started a vegetarian diet, it is critically important to be health conscious while following one. In order to avoid having deficiencies of certain nutrients, try to pay attention to these important nutrition guidelines.

Protein

Since meat is not an option, it’s extremely important to make sure you’re eating from a variety of protein sources. Complete proteins contain all of the amino acids needed by the body. Not all plant foods containing protein are complete, so it’s a good idea to consume a variety of types throughout your day. Soy is one great source of protein when whipping up a stir fry for dinner but for lunch on the go, so is a peanut butter sandwich.

Vitamin B12

This compound is ONLY found in animal products. If you’re following a vegetarian diet that includes dairy, you’re probably fine as it only takes about two glasses of milk to meet your requirement. But for those strictly not consuming animal products, there is a good chance you may need a supplemental form of this vitamin. Drinking fortified soy or rice milks can help, but often that does not provide enough.

Iron

Make sure you’re consuming enough iron in your diet. Iron has many important functions, one of which involves transporting oxygen through the body. There are two types of iron: heme and non-heme. Heme iron and non-heme iron are found in meat, poultry, and fish; however, plant foods only contain non-heme iron. Unfortunately non-heme iron is less well absorbed by the body than heme iron. The Institute of Medicine recommends that college age males consume 8 mg of iron per day and females consume 18 mg per day. What are some good sources for vegetarians? Dried fruits, dried beans, and dark green vegetables (such as broccoli, spinach, kale, and asparagus) all contain good amounts of iron. Fact: Vitamin C can help you to absorb more iron when eating these plant foods! Try a spinach salad topped with orange slices or a stir fry with tofu and broccoli to get more iron. Cooking with iron cookware (like a cast iron skillet) can also add iron to your diet.

Thankfully, Virginia Tech’s Dining Centers provide plenty of options for those who want to follow a vegetarian lifestyle. Listed below are some ideas for meals you could select in the different Dining Centers.

Breakfast @ D2:

Oatmeal—heap in some raisins for additional iron

Glass of skim or soymilk (can be found at Olive’s)

Fresh orange

Lunch Grab & Go @ DX:

Garden Vegetable Salad with dressing

Red Pepper Hummus Sandwich

Ripe Banana

Bottle of water

Lunch @ D2

Sunshine burger on wheat bun, found at Olive’s

Sweet potato half or sweet potato fries (both are high in Vitamin A!), also found at Olive’s

Make your own spinach salad at Eden’s

Crisp Apple

Beverage of choice

Lunch @ Owen’s

Check Farm and Fields for specials, like a strawberry tofu brie panini with a marinated vegetable salad, here: http://farmsandfields.wordpress.com/menus/

Plump red grapes

Beverage of choice

Dinner @ West End Market

Small plate of whole wheat pasta (if available) with marinara sauce, found in Bistro Firenze

Prince Edward Vegetable Blend from JP’s (or other daily special vegetables)

Blueberry peach smoothie from Wired

Glass of water

Each meal is calculated to have between 600 and 700 Calories, so you can adjust based on your own individual needs. Each meal also has between 15 and 25 grams of protein to fulfill your daily protein needs of either 46 grams or 56 grams (first for women, second for men). Try to follow a similar pattern of eating throughout your day to have a nutrient filled vegetarian diet!

 Resources

Center for Disease Control and Prevention — Protein

Information about cooking vegetables:

Medline Plus, service of the National Institutes of Health — Iron

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements — Vitamin B12

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans — Scroll to Appendix 8 for more specific information on what should be included in a vegetarian diet

Virginia Tech’s Dining Centers’ Nutritional Information

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Welcome! « A Healthier Hokie: A Blog for Smarter Eating  |  September 29, 2011 at 10:30 am

    […]  There is also a new post under Students with Specific Dietary Needs talking about Eating Vegetarian in Virginia Tech’s Dining Centers. […]

  • 2. edwinoak  |  August 5, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Editorial note: I don’t think Chili con Carne is a vegetarian option.

  • 3. Virginia Tech Dining Services Administration  |  August 6, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Thank you for the correction! We made sure to make the appropriate changes.

  • 4. Neelam periwal  |  August 26, 2015 at 6:22 am

    there should be some option for roti and rice with DSL or vegetables for the vegetarian students.

  • 5. Virginia Tech Dining Services Administration  |  September 15, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks for your suggestions Neelam. We will remember this when coming up with vegetarian options.

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