Lettuce: It’s what’s for dinner

Josh Jacob

For some it’s a test of willpower. For others, it’s a religious experience. For many more, it’s an unpleasant encounter with a particularly processed piece of Chicken McNugget. Regardless of reason, vegetarianism is on the rise-and not all college campuses are serving vegetarian choices that also provide sufficient nutrients. Northern Kentucky Univesity is no exception.

According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), more and more Americans are choosing to ditch their meat and substitute it with beans and greens, and many of these vegetarians make the switch during their college years.

The ADA states that a vegetarian diet is defined as “one that does not include fish, meat or fowl,” and 2.5 percent of adult Americans fit the bill. While options for the veggie way of life are increasing in most U.S. regions, Midwestern eating facilities haven’t quite seemed to catch on.

“Appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases,” according to the ADA.

The key words here are “appropriately planned.” Many important nutrients need to be considered when eating a vegetarian diet, such as protein, iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin B-12. While most people get these from meats, vegetarians can get just as much of these nutrients by planning meals revolved around green leafy vegetables, beans, soy products (tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers, soy milk) and fortified cereals and juices.

A quick look at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Guide Pyramid will show you that omitting meat and replacing it with foods such as cheese pizza, french fries and soda pop is not healthy. However, these types of foods are almost the only options given to vegetarians on campus.

NKU has two major eating facilities both run by Chartwells: the Main Street Caf