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Monday, March 20, 2023

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San Diego State University will soon begin offering a growing number of diverse meal options. San Diego State University will soon begin offering a growing number of diverse meal options.

Expanding Food Options Promote Inclusive Environment

With the start of a new school year comes an expanded selection of food options on the SDSU campus.
By Lainie Fraser

Starting in the fall semester, San Diego State University will begin offering a growing number of diverse meal options, including halal, kosher, vegan and gluten free options.

There will be eight frozen and fresh halal-certified food options available at all Aztec Markets across campus this fall. All items will made in-house on SDSU’s campus and labeled with a sticker identifying them as halal, geared to Muslim dietary guidelines.

Additionally, Halal Shack, a fast-casual national restaurant chain with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern menu items, will accompany the wide array of restaurants within East Commons and become the first Halal Shack on the West Coast. Halal Shack, according to the company, strives to unite people and culture through food, and was created in response to a need on college campuses across the country.

“SDSU students, staff and faculty are excited about the Halal Shack joining our campus community,” said Mohamed Ahmed, associate chief diversity officer for SDSU. “Our inclusive food initiative is committed to enhancing our university’s diverse food options and the Halal Shack is a critical partner in achieving that vision.”

SDSU is working to meet all dietary needs and preferences of students, faculty, staff as well as community members and campus visitors.

“Students are clear about their interest in healthy foods and those associated with a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet,” said Randy Timm, assistant vice president and dean of students. “Halal Shack helps us meet the dietary needs of our diverse, health-conscious community. SDSU is a dynamic and diverse college campus with students, faculty and staff members of varying backgrounds and dietary needs.


There are also kosher food options available on campus this fall. Those interested can find a wide variety of both fresh and frozen options in all markets across campus. These items will be labeled with a sticker or the standard manufacturing label identifying them as kosher.


Vegan options can be found in all markets and in every restaurant on campus. Vegan items sold in Aztec Markets can be identified by labels similar to those used for halal and kosher foods.

SDSU is also home to Plant Power Fast Food, the university’s first completely vegan restaurant, which serves 100 percent plant-based food items at a quick pace and is available on the SDSU meal plan.

For those in need of help finding vegan options on campus, SDSU Dining offers one-on-one meetings with a plant-based ambassador, who can help get the most out of students’ meal plans and meet their dietary needs and preferences. Connect with the plant-based ambassador and other resources offered by SDSU Dining by calling 619-594-7640 or by visiting the SDSU Dining website.


Gluten-free options can be found in every market and restaurant on campus. Fresh and frozen items in the market are labeled as either gluten free or gluten friendly. Gluten friendly means the food may not contain gluten but was cooked or packaged somewhere that contains or comes in contact with gluten. Both UTK and The Garden offer gluten-free ovens for those who enjoy baked items such as gluten-free pizza. Additionally, those who need gluten-free options or cooking environments are encouraged to speak with chefs and managers of locations on campus to ensure their requests can be met. Please call SDSU Dining at 619-594-7640 to coordinate meetings.


SDSU Dining is committed to helping students, faculty and staff members with allergies find food options they can eat on campus. Paul Melchior, director of SDSU Dining, can meet with those in need to inform campus community members on where they can eat and what they can order.

Also new this semester

With the opening of Huaxyacac Hall comes an additional Aztec Market and a Big City Bagel location on the west side of campus. Each night, there will also be two or three food trucks for students to choose from. These trucks will rotate out of a group of 26 allowing for different options each night.

At UTK, SDSU Dining has taken sushi night from one night a week to Monday through Friday night. Sushi lovers can now enjoy their favorite rolls daily at the sushi station.

Also this semester, Lolita’s, a Mexican food restaurant, will open its seventh San Diego County location in South Campus Plaza.