Can I Eat Here?! Vegan/Lactose Intolerant Edition

Author: Mary Kate Healey

Vegan 2

There are countless reasons why someone could have a dietary restriction: allergy, illness, religion, ethics, or even just being a picky eater. Despite how common these restrictions are, it can still be tricky to plan meals.

Luckily, our dining halls are incredibly accommodating. There is a labeling system in place to alert eaters of potential allergens and a special diets website that lists foods that apply. We even have a full-time registered dietitian that can meet with students one-on-one to talk about options and help with meal planning. But most of all, we have tons of delicious food that fits every diet.

Throughout this series, I’m exploring a new diet every post to learn more about having dietary restrictions at ND. I also have my own dietary restrictions, specifically vegetarianism, which means there will be no meat or fish any days. This also means my diet will overlap with many religious diets because I will not be eating pork or shellfish on any day.


Vegan 1


Lunch at North Dining Hall

  • French Fries with Ketchup

  • Protein bowl - mixed greens, carrots, pepitas, sunflower seeds, quinoa, sweet potato, black beans, vinaigrette

  • Apple

  • Soda water

North Dining Hall has a “Protein Bowl” station that makes going meatless easy. There are a ton of plant-based toppings available, but cheese, eggs, and meat can be added from the salad bar. The apples are extra fresh because the dining halls partner with local Michigan farms, and most dining hall beverages are vegan, but bubbly water makes being hydrated more fun. As for the french fries - nobody is perfect but they are fried in plant oils.

Afternoon snack in the Huddle

  • Planters Spicy Nuts & Cajun Sticks Trail Mix

  • Caddy Shack Peace Tea

Plenty of vegan snacks available at The Huddle, our on-campus mini mart. One favorite is “go picnics,” which are basically grown-up lunchables that have a few vegan options. I was craving something salty with protein, so I went for a spicy trail mix and a sweet Arnold Palmer to wash it down.

Vegan 2

Dinner at South Dining Hall

  • Vegetable stir fry with broccoli, snow peas, carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, onions, white rice, and tofu cooked in sweet Thai chili sauce

Made-to-order stir fry is a fabulous luxury. You load up your bowl with any ingredients you want, and hand it to a chef that cooks it fresh in front of you. There are several sauce options, but this one is the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and spicy. Rice and tofu make a vegetable dish more filling, but any number of vegan side dishes can be added!


There are far more vegan and lactose-free options on campus than I could have consumed in two meals. A full list of dining hall options can be found here, but flex points can also get you some plant-based goodies. Taco Bell has a vegan menu, Au Bon Pain has plenty of vegetable and bean soups, Subway has several bread options that would work with a “Veggie Delight,” and Starbucks recently introduced a whole line of drinks using almond and coconut milk. So don’t worry, you’ll have plenty to eat at Notre Dame.