79% of Gen Z chooses to go meatless once a week, and 65% of Gen Z wants to have a more “plant-forward” diet, according to Supermarket News.
With such a large number of young people going meatless, Elmhurst University ought to keep up with the trend.
While EU already provides a sufficient number of meat-free meals, they should keep expanding their plant-based options to best cater to students’ dietary needs and wants.
Students who don’t eat animal products and live on campus, or buy meals on campus frequently, may often find themselves eating vegetarian or vegan pasta, casseroles, subs, and salads in the main cafe, or eating veggie wraps or sandwiches in the Roost.
As delicious as these foods can be, students can get tired of eating the same meals every day.
If EU were to incorporate more plant-based meals into their menus, students would likely appreciate the opportunity to mix things up.
Offering more plant-based options may also help students improve their nutrition, which is essential to optimal health. According to Everyday Health, eating more plant-based foods can lead to numerous health benefits, including lower risks of cancer, heart issues, diabetes, and stroke.
For students who dine on campus regularly, giving them plenty of nutritious options is key to supporting their overall well-being.
Additionally, EU could consider providing meals inspired by a wide variety of cultures as a way to introduce more plant-based options. There are plenty of tasty plant-based recipes inspired by cuisine from all over the world.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Asian cuisine, such as Chinese, Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese rice and noodle dishes, provide an abundance of meatless options that include vegetables and tofu.
South Asian cuisine, such as Indian, Sri Lankan, Nepali, Pakistani, and Burmese dishes, also offer meatless options that include bread, lentils, curries vegetables, rice, and yogurt.
Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, and Mexican cuisine also provide plant-based options.
By globalizing their menus, EU can help students to not only add more nutrients to their diet, but also have fun trying new meals from different cultures.
Making changes to the campus menus may seem like a daunting task. Luckily, EU doesn’t need to open up a whole new cafe to start making impactful changes. Something as simple as adding more options for fillings in wraps and bowls, such as beans, lentils, and tofu, can make a huge difference.
Offering nutrient-rich, sustainable food options is an essential part of supporting students’ well-being, so it’s time for EU to start doing just that.