Dietary Restrictions on Campus


Juliet Suess

By Maddie Morrison
When CC Mesa ’22 goes to the Horn Commons during her fourth period lunch, her friends walk to the cafeteria while she sits at a table and eats her lunch from home. Mesa has a condition called insulin resistance.
“I pack my own lunch. I once tried to get a snack from the cafeteria, and I couldn’t find anything,” Mesa said.
Mesa is not alone.  In an online survey sent to the Middle School, 31 percent of the 406 respondents said they have some sort of dietary restriction, ranging from food allergies to religious limitations to other dietary constraints, and 24 percent of survey respondents said they cannot eat food from the cafeteria because their diet does not permit it.
For most students, however, finding food in the cafeteria is not an issue.
“A lot of people don’t appreciate the cafeteria for what it is, but personally, especially as a vegetarian, I love it! I think they have great options on the daily; they taste good and they appear to be fairly healthy,” an anonymous survey respondent said.
For Alon Moradi ’21, the cafeteria does an adequate job providing food that he can eat over the holidays.
“During Passover, when I cannot have any bread products, there are still vegetarian options and some protein options as well that I can have. There are always Matzah pizzas during that week which I think is very considerate and is always my favorite!” Moradi said.
While some students experience difficulty in the cafeteria, others encounter problems in their daily lives.
“In restaurants [getting food] is a lot harder than in the cafeteria because I have to ask every time I order something if it has nuts. A lot of the time the waiters just don’t know,” Isa Sylbert ’22, who has a nut allergy, said.
During the holidays most students find cafeteria food to be fairly accessible and adhering to their dietary needs. 77 percent of respondents said that they have no issues getting food that fits their dietary needs on holidays.
“Around the holidays, it’s pretty much fine, it’s just that if I want pumpkin pie or cinnamon rolls then I have to make it myself,” an anonymous vegan survey respondent said.
For the 38 percent of those with dietary restrictions who have allergies, it can be more challenging. Some common allergies include nuts, fish, dairy and gluten. Sylbert said that there are walnuts in almost every kind of pie, so the food options available to her are disappointing on holidays like Thanksgiving.
46 percent of surveyed students’ family members do not have the same restrictions as they do. While some students with more severe allergies and restrictions can not physically be in the presence of certain foods, most students’ family members eat them with no consequences.
“[My family] eat[s] nuts all the time,” Sylbert said.
It can even be difficult for students with family members who have dietary restrictions.
“My sister is severely allergic to peanuts, and she needs an epipen if she eats one. We still eat some nuts but we have to be really careful,” Ari Ogden ’22 said.
For some students like Mesa, finding food in the cafeteria is complicated, but for the majority of the students on campus it is an easy task.