Current meal plan lacks student vegan options


Christine Valenzuela

A student sarcastically expresses that she finally has options for vegan food, symbolizing the fact that there should be more vegan food food choices in the cafeteria.

Angie Rumbo

With veganism becoming an increasingly popular lifestyle choice among students, schools should accommodate to this need with a wider meal selection.

Vegan teenagers make up 0.5% of the world’s population. Yet vegan school lunches aren’t being offered in the school’s current meal plan. Vegans don’t consume meat, dairy, eggs or any sort of animal by-products. Some even choose to not wear clothes made out of animal fur/leather or use products tested on animals.

Due to this increase of veganism among the Los Angeles Unified School District student, the school board approved the Healthy Freedom campaign pilot program to begin this school year in early May. This campaign is aimed to include a vegan entree and non-dairy beverage alternative to the menu. The program should be expanded due to all the positive feedback it’s been getting.

Sure, the Meatless Monday program was introduced to us in 2013; it included food options such as yogurt, salads with cheese or pizza. However, this measure was directed more toward vegetarians rather than vegans because everything had dairy in it.

Some schools in LAUSD actually serve vegan options on a daily basis, some of the schools are North Hollywood, Phineas Banning, Crenshaw, Fairfax, Huntington Park, Theodore Roosevelt and Sylmar High Schools. Options range from veggie burgers, to  “sausage” subs. At Daniel Pearl Magnet High School, we are only given a vegan chili option almost every Monday. Some weeks, it’s not even offered at all.

“I don’t know why they just do it that day. They should have something without meat everyday,” cafeteria manager Kathy Mrasz said.  

The feedback for other school’s vegan options have been positive and even non-vegan students enjoy it. So why aren’t we getting all the options daily? It’s because many  believe it’s a waste of money since there aren’t enough vegans and vegetarians on campus. None of that should matter because everyone should have the option to have lunch at school everyday.

Taking a lunch to school can be a hassle and often students forget to bring it or don’t have time to prepare it in the mornings. This especially affects those who are vegan or vegetarian since they have no food option available to them at the school cafeteria.  

“I don’t always struggle to eat lunch because I always bring my own,” junior vegetarian Bella Feinstein said, “but there are days when I’ve forgotten and the cafeteria options are not that great.”

With veganism and vegetarianism growing, it’s important to support the diet and lifestyle that is animal free and ensure that all students are able to have a meal during school.