Vegetarian Food at Tufts

Whether you are simply interested in adding more plant-based menu items to your diet or are ready to transition into a full-fledged vegetarian lifestyle, Tufts Dining has a number of healthy, well-balance vegetarian and vegan options waiting for you. All whole grains and legumes served in the Tufts vegetarian lines are organic—even more reason to feel good about choosing vegetarian.

Vegetarian Food

Vegetarianism is the practice of not consuming meat. The decision to follow a vegetarian diet can be made for a variety of reasons, including dietary, environmental, ethical, religious, economic, and philosophical reasons.

Health Impacts
Evidence is mounting that choosing a vegetarian diet has many health benefits. Incidence of several chronic diseases and conditions such as certain cancers, stroke, obesity, osteoporosis, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and food borne illness is reduced in populations following a vegetarian diet. This may be related to the beneficial vitamin, mineral, antioxidant, phytochemical and fiber content of plant-based eating.

From a labor standpoint, those that live near or work on animal factory farms often experience respiratory problems, skin infections, nausea, depression, and even death as a result of their exposure to animal-waste pollution.

Environmental Impacts
Animal agriculture has numerous environmental impacts, including air and water pollution, deforestation, erosion, and the loss of habitat and wildlife biodiversity. In addition to using large amounts of water and fossil fuel, the production of animals for consumption is responsible for some of the highest emissions of harmful gases into our air and water ways. Waste and by-products created during the raising, slaughtering and processing of meat animals also contaminate our streams, rivers and oceans with harmful chemicals and pollutants.

Social Impacts
If farmers devoted the land, water, labor, and other resources currently used for meat production to growing non-meat food, we would be able to feed many more people using less agricultural land.

What is the difference between vegetarianism and veganism?
Veganism is a form of vegetarianism in which the eater avoids all animal products, including honey, eggs, and dairy-based foods. They also avoid using non-food products that come from animals, such as leather, wool, fur, and down, and products that have been tested on animals. A healthy, balanced plant-based diet is possible whether you choose to avoid all animal products; avoid poultry, meat & fish while still consuming eggs and dairy products; or something in between.

Do vegetarian diets lack protein?
No. In fact, Americans tend to get too much protein in their diets, stressing their kidneys and leading the body to excrete calcium, which can cause osteoporosis. In the past, vegetarians were told to match up protein sources at every meal to get the right combinations of amino acids needed for good health. Now we know that our bodies are efficient at combining amino acids on their own, given that we eat a variety of proteins throughout the week. Some good non-meat sources of protein include whole-wheat bread, soy products, oatmeal, beans, peanuts, peas, nuts, mushrooms, and broccoli.


  • 12 million adult Americans consider themselves vegetarians.
  • 72 million animals are killed for food each day in the United States.
  • It takes 20 times more land to feed a meat-eater than to feed a vegetarian.
  • It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of meat, but only 25 gallons to produce a pound of wheat.
  • 1 acre of land can produce 20,000 pounds of potatoes. If used to grow cattle feed, the same piece of land produces less than 165 pounds of beef.
  • Meat production causes 85% of soil erosion and more water pollution than any other activity in the U.S.
  • Animals raised for food in this country produce 130 times more excrement than humans.
  • Factory farms dump 220 billion gallons of animal waste onto farmland and into waterways in the U.S. every year. As a result, hog, chicken, and cattle excrement pollutes 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and groundwater in 17 states.
  • Up to 70% of all workers in hog barns suffer from bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses due to the corrosive nature of hog waste.
  • Vegetarians are 50% less likely to develop heart disease and have a 40% lower rate of cancer mortality than meat-eaters.
  • Vegetarians and vegans live an average of 6 to 10 years longer than meat-eaters.
  • Conservative estimates put the cost of health care due to excessive meat consumption between $60 and $120 billion annually in the U.S.
  • Most Americans get 2 times as much protein as they need.
  • In 2004, 24,000 people died every day around the world of chronic, persistent hunger. Between 600 million and 1 billion people are too poor to meet their daily nutritional requirements.
  • Some estimate that reducing meat production by just 10% in this country would free up enough grain to feed 60 million people.
  • Animals raised for food in the U.S. consume 90% of the soy crop, 80% of the corn crop, and a total of 70% of its grain.
  • Animal agriculture is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases - responsible for 18% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalents. By comparison, all transportation emits 13.5% of the CO2.