Vegan - Frequently Asked Questions
- Why did you make Maple a vegan cafeteria?
Our goal is to satisfy the students, faculty and staff of UNT. Our number one request has always been to have more vegan and vegetarian options. After reviewing the menus of all 5 dining halls we realized we had the freedom to diversify and offer more variety. Offering an all vegan cafeteria we can better serve our community and help attract more students to the university.
- But I am not vegan. I like to eat meat. Will this limit my options?
We offer beef, pork, poultry and seafood options in all of our other cafeterias: Kerr, Champs, Bruce and West. We are not trying to convert anyone to veganism. We just want to offer tasty options that everyone will enjoy! Who doesn't like grilled corn on the cob or a fresh veggie Panini served on homemade focaccia bread? Our culinary staff is working hard every day to create meals that even the pickiest student will enjoy!
- Why vegan?
We wanted to step out of the box! More people eat a variety of fruits and veggies than people who solely eat meat. Serving a completely vegan menu gives students the opportunity to explore new things and stimulate their taste buds! This also makes UNT unique and more competitive in comparison to other universities around the country.
- Why do people become vegan?
Some like to explore veganism for the ethical, spiritual, health and sustainability reasons. Many students are ethical vegans who feel eating animal products is wrong. Some just see the benefits of eating a healthy high energy plant based diet. Many students believe a vegan diet is better for the earth and is aligned with our sustainability initiatives for a green campus – We Mean Green!
- But we only have a few true vegans on campus, isn't this a waste of resources for just a few people?
No, this exciting new option adds variety to our current menu selection. Based on student feedback we believe there are more strict vegans (students who never eat meat) than there are strict meat eaters (students who never eat vegetables). The reality is many students are both veggie and meat eaters. We have many strict vegans as well as students who go through cycles of veganism. It doesn't have to be an "all or nothing" proposition - there's nothing wrong with being vegan for a meal, a day, a week, a month, a year or a lifetime. Many universities do "Meatless Mondays" but with five dining halls on our campus we have the resources to support the vegan lifestyle every day.
- How will vegans get their protein?
There are several sources of protein. It is true that animal meat has more grams of protein per ounce than other foods, but they also contain high levels of saturated fats. Foods like beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds are great sources of protein and offer numerous vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Plus, they have something that animal products don't have… fiber!
- Are there other nutritional concerns for vegans?
It is important to make sure the body gets plenty of calcium, vitamin d, iron and vitamin b-12 when consuming a vegan diet. Fortified soy milk can take care of several of these concerns as it contains calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B-12. Dark, leafy greens also provide calcium and iron. These are just a few options. For more detailed information on nutritional concerns for vegans: see our nutrition brochure on Vegetarianism or our white paper on Veganism.
- I live in Maple and I am not vegan. Where will I eat?
Students with a meal plan can eat at any of our 5 dining halls. The dining halls are not designed specifically for the residents that live in the attached dorm, they are designed to appeal to the general campus community. With the exception of Champs at Victory, all of our dining halls are a short five minute walk from each other. Kerr, our largest cafeteria which offers a wide range of options, is less than a 2 minute walk from Maple. We encourage you to give Maple a try – you will be pleasantly surprised!
- How did this concept for Mean Greens come about?
With five cafeterias on campus we have more cafeterias than most universities. This many general purpose cafeterias allows us to maximize our resources and diversify what we offer.
- What are the benefits of offering an all vegan cafeteria?
The short answer is more variety but the real question is- what are the benefits of being vegan? Vegans are frequently misunderstood as fringe eaters when in reality following a healthy, balanced vegan diet ensures a host of health benefits. It also helps to reduce our carbon footprint, another way to do our part in the world of sustainability.
- How do you define vegan food?
A vegan diet consists of plant-based foods only. In other words, vegans do not consume anything that comes from an animal, like meat or dairy products. A vegan diet is formed on the basis of a food pyramid different from that of a conventional meat-based diet. Thus, from bottom to top the vegan food pyramid includes grains, legumes and nuts, vegetables, fruits and fats. For more information visit the Nutrition tab on our website http://dining.unt.edu, specifically the white paper on vegan diets.
- How many UNT students are considered vegan?
All of them! (It's difficult to predict or truly give an estimate.) There are far more students that are strict vegans than there are strict meat eaters. It's really a question of velocity; some are vegan 100% of the time, some 90%, some 70% but all people eat vegan sometimes, but not all people eat meat.
- Will students be able to use their regular meal plan at Mean Greens?
Naturally, our meal plans are good at any of the five dining halls on campus.
- If I don't have a meal plan and want to try the food at Mean Greens is it going to be more expensive than the other cafeterias?
The ingredients will be more expensive in some cases but the price the customer pays at the door will be the same as any other cafeteria. You get more variety and the chance to try something new at no additional cost!