Hungry on a Monday night? A student reflection on Meatless Monday

Serving line in dining hall with a dish of rice and one of colorful vegetables Earlier this semester I went to Mission dining on a Monday evening to check out Meatless Monday, and I’ve been going back ever since. Meatless Monday, a global movement that promotes plant-based diets which help to reduce carbon emissions and enhance health, has been a Williams tradition for the past decade. The goal is to create delicious and nutritious meals for students whether they usually enjoy their meals with meat or not. Since I had never been there before I decided to try a little bit of everything so that I could taste the creativity that the chefs served up that night. As I looked at the platters of food, I noticed the wide array of grains and vegetables that are rarely available at the other dining halls.

Meatless Monday provides students with the opportunity to enjoy a meal that was intentionally created to center a plant-based diet. We can thank the dining staff for their continuous innovation in creating delicious, nutritious and well balanced meals. Whether you choose plant-based diets for health, environmental or religious reasons, Meatless Monday makes it easy to know that a delicious plant-based meal was made with you in mind!

Plate full of plant-based food, including sweet potatoes, noodles, mushrooms, and barley

A lot of the dishes surprised me. That night there were so many diverse options with a unique twist. Some of the ingredients on my plate were new to me and others were combined in ways that I never imagined. As I sat down to eat my food, I was pleasantly surprised by how good the dishes were, including some that I was hesitant to put on my plate. I especially enjoyed the corn chowder, wheat berry cheese and spinach pie, zucchini fritters and whitebean ragout, as well as the multiple choices of flavored hummus that were served with homemade pita chips.

Two different kinds of soup being served by the dining hall; one appears to be corn chowder

In addition to the food being delicious, each meal that we eat can make a real difference in regards to greenhouse gas emissions. Analysis completed for the Cool Food Pledge by the World Resources Institute found that at Williams, beef and lamb make up almost half of our food related greenhouse gas emissions. Some estimates have found that consuming 1 pound of beef is equivalent to consuming 2,500 gallons of water, 12 lbs of grains, and 1 gallon of gasoline. So, by decreasing the amount of meat that we consume, we can make a real impact on the planet.

One of my friends who normally eats meat in the dining halls joined me last week and said they didn’t miss meat when eating at Meatless Monday.  They really liked the food, but just didn’t always make time for it because Mission is a bit far from their dorm. I would encourage every student to make a trip over to Mission on a Monday evening. It may already be a part of your weekly routine, but if not, I think you will be  pleasantly surprised by what a meatless meal at Mission dining has to offer.

-Amelia Linton (’24), Sustainable Food Intern