I am a pescatarian which means I don’t eat any meat except fish. Because of this, eating fish is the main way for me to get my protein, because I hate tofu, which is the usual go-to protein for vegetarians. I have been on this diet for two months now and have struggled to find protein that I can actually eat in the Stony Brook dining halls. It is rare that a dining hall has fish or beans of any kind.
I eat at West Side Dining all the time. Every time I go for food, specifically lunch or dinner, I immediately approach the buffet stations that provide a unique menu option everyday, such as the Oasis Grill or the International Cafe. These stations have the slim possibility of having a form of protein for those on special diets. Most of the time, there is meat served with a side of carbs such as rice, or the chef puts the side dish on a separate plate to eat. The carbs being served alone does not satisfy my diet because, for example, if the side is plain rice for the day, I won’t get any protein. Once in a while there is fish, that I feel forced to grab because I am lacking protein for a balanced diet and the amount of fish served in the dining hall is very scarce.
The one protein that is available every day is tuna fish. I am not always in the mood for fish, especially tuna fish, but it’s my only source of protein the dining halls provide for my diet. I can’t just keep eating at the vegan section over and over either because there aren’t enough protein options there as well. CulinArt needs to have more variety for people who have specific diets.
There are also more picky eaters than me. For example, one of my friends is vegetarian and doesn’t eat food if meat has touched it. In West Side Dining, there is a different pasta dish every day, which usually has meat in it. The two other options, whole wheat or plain pasta, are the same everyday. Sometimes, the pasta of the day will serve pescatarians by having no chicken or beef, but there is no reliable way for me to know before I check. If officials want to increase the food diversity, they should take into account students with special diets.
Some people have the money or dining dollars to buy food wherever they want on campus. Students with swipes have to debate when and where to use their dining dollars. People with special diets and lower incomes can’t afford to excessively use their dining dollars and refill them.
I don’t have a car to go off campus and I have to depend on Uber and public transportation. If I wanted to go to Trader Joe’s or Stop & Shop to grab some protein, the travel costs extra money and time. I wouldn’t have to worry about going off campus for food if dining halls provided more options for my pescatarian needs.
I should not have to walk into the dining hall worried about whether I will get a protein-filled meal or have to stuff my face with carbs. Just give pescatarians more protein-filled eating options for our meal plan.