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Tips on making Founders vegan friendly

The salad bar is a great resource for extra veggies if your meal is lacking in the nutrients you want. (Marisa Tangeman)
The salad bar is a great resource for extra veggies if your meal is lacking in the nutrients you want. (Marisa Tangeman)

As a vegetarian with a dairy allergy, it can be difficult to eat healthy, well-balanced meals while in college. Although Mills was ranked in the top college dining experiences by College Rank, I still have trouble finding something I both can and want to eat at Founder’s Commons. Here are a few tips I have developed for making Founder’s vegan friendly.

  1. Get creative with the salad bar.

Even if salads aren’t your thing, you can still use items from the salad bar to add extra veggies to your meal. Dark, leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and arugula (the salad bar is always stocked with one of these options) offer a great source of vitamins and minerals. The USDA recommends eating half a cup of leafy green vegetables a day, and spinach and broccoli act as a great source of protein for vegans. Next time you find yourself wishing that the soft tacos or stir fry had more vegetables, head over to the salad bar and add your own!

2. Don’t forget about the fruit.

Fruit is also rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and is often much tastier than raw vegetables. It’s easy to forget about the fruit hiding on the bottom shelf of the tables of fruit-infused water at Founder’s until you’re on your way out, but it can be an excellent supplement to your meal. Add sliced apples or oranges to your salad for some extra fiber and vitamins, or top some peanut butter toast with banana slices for a good source of potassium. Dipping apple slices in peanut butter is one of my go-to snacks when I need some extra energy but want to satisfy my sweet tooth.

3. Opt for soup and a salad.

Founder’s always offers two soups for dinner, and at least one is usually vegan. A healthy and filling go-to meal of mine is making a salad at the salad bar and getting a warm bowl of soup. This is especially satisfying on a cold, rainy day.

4. Always proceed with caution.

Some of the items, like the veggie burgers and veggie breakfast patties, contain eggs and dairy. Although one would assume that most meat replacements are vegan, many have ingredients like egg and whey protein. The breakfast foods are often unlabeled on weekday mornings, so many people don’t realize that the veggie patties aren’t vegan. If you’re dairy-free but still eat eggs, it is also important to know that eggs used to make scrambled eggs and omelets are often cooked with milk.

5. The comment cards are there for a reason.

If it’s your fourth night in a row of eating cereal for dinner and you still feel like you can’t find something to eat at Founder’s, you can always leave a comment card on your way out. The Bon Appetit staff regularly checks the comment cards to make sure student’s dietary needs are met.

College is hard enough already without dietary restrictions to worry about. These tips will help you get more creative at Founder’s, and help put together healthy, well-balanced meals to boost productivity and focus for your schoolwork.