A Vegetarian's Guide to the World of IU Dining

To say I am a picky eater would be an understatement. Imagine the little toddler that refuses to eat anything that is put in front of them and that will give you the general idea. That combined with being a vegetarian made me a little nervous to be dependent on dining hall food.

Being a vegetarian on campus can be a big challenge. At first glance most of the dishes served have meat or are just unhealthy in general. My freshman year I fell into a bad habit of eating all frozen meals from the c-store because I didn’t want to waste time going to the food courts if there was nothing there for me to eat. Looking back that was a big mistake (the freshman 15 is real). But fear not! Last year (my junior year) I had a meal plan again and decided that I was going to find healthy, satisfying options at the dining halls to fit my vegetarian lifestyle.

Here are my tips on how to survive and thrive while being a vegetarian on campus

Grocery shop at Union Street

  • Union Street Market, inside the center building of Union Street Apartments, is my favorite dining location on campus. It is a healthy version of the c-store and I go there at least twice a week. I stock up on KIND granola bars, packets of almond butter, organic soup, cheese sticks, hummus, and lots of Chobani greek yogurt. There is always some sort of fresh fruit in stock- strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are a few that they frequently have! I love having food in my room that I can easily make a meal out of. It saves me time and I know I have something good to eat anytime hunger strikes.
  • Union Street is also known for their paninis and wraps. They have a couple vegetarian options on their menu or there is always the option to build your own!

Mix and Match

  • Often times my friends make fun of the random conglomeration of food items that I put on my tray to make up a meal. But when most of the entrees include meat, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. Don’t be afraid to get sides from different stations to make up a full meal. Or eat breakfast food for any meal. One of my favorite go-to meals is a whole wheat bagel and yogurt from Wright Food Court. I’m probably a bad vegetarian because I haven’t visited the one food court that is known for serving food meant for me! The Edmondson Dining Room at Collins is known for having vegetarian/vegan options at every meal; I just sadly have not had a chance to eat there. You should definitely check it out! Just be sure to check their hours because unlike the other dining halls they are only open for a couple hours a day.


  • One great thing about the IU dining halls is the ability to make almost any meal your own. This makes things a lot easier and opens up lots of options to make meatless meals. The Restaurants at Woodland, aka Forest, has endless possibilities. Well maybe not endless….but not bad! They have an amazing salad bar, build your own pasta bowls and some vegetarian sandwich options.

It may seem like the dining halls are against you, but it is possible to live happily as a vegetarian while on a meal plan! Don’t be afraid to experiment and find out what works for you. Bloomington is a very vegetarian friendly city and if you want to go off campus there are many great restaurants around! Good luck and enjoy living the vegetarian life at IU! 

Check out the menu and hours for all of the dining halls here

About The Author
Laurie SitesKSB-Marketing, Class of 2016, RA

Hey I'm Laurie! I am a senior studying Marketing with a minor in Counseling and currently debating what I want to do after graduation (it's scary to think about.) But for now, I will enjoy my last year at IU and share my experiences with you!