Eating vegan in college may seem difficult or even impossible, but luckily, there are many resources available to help you maintain a vegan diet. With the help of some of the tips below, it is possible to be a typical college student while refraining from eating any animal products.
1. Prepare for the dining hall.
Access your school’s dining service website ahead of time to view daily menus. Most websites will label vegan options that are available. In addition, most dining halls have a salad bar that can always be a backup plan. If you're unsure of the ingredients in something, don't be afraid to ask!
2. Get inspired.
Flip through cookbooks, ebooks and Pinterest recipes. There are many recipes online to make easy and inexpensive vegan food. A few of my favorite ebooks are accessible online like Vegan Made Simple by Tess Begg and Simple Vegan Eats by Liv B. Start a Pinterest board with easy vegan recipes. You can follow other user's boards to find great posts like this one.
3. Create your own recipe book.
Once you've found recipes that you'd like to try out, condense them into your own recipe book. An easy breakfast recipe is key, whether that be rolled oats or avocado toast. Include easy dinner recipes like your favorite pasta dinner, easy salads and Buddha bowls. Type up your recipes and include all ingredients and instructions. Pin your recipe book on your bulletin board or on the fridge in your dorm for easy access and inspiration!
4. Make a grocery list.
Before you take a trip to the grocery store, plan it out. Make a list of foods that you will actually eat while in college. Stock up on rolled oats, rice, canned beans, peanut butter, frozen berries and other staples. Lara Bars or Clif Bars (vegan flavors) are great to eat on the go. Utilize websites like ThriveMarket that can send vegan grocery staples right to your door!
5. Find vegan-friendly restaurants near you.
An amazing website to use is Happycow.net. HappyCow allows you to find vegan or vegetarian restaurants in your area. Another feature of HappyCow is a list of local restaurants that may not be fully vegan/vegetarian, but will have options for those eating a plant-based diet. Whether your college is located in a big city or a small town, HappyCow will show you places where you will actually find things on the menu. Bookmark the website!
6. Drinking vegan.
For all viewers 21+ that follow a vegan diet, a great resource for you is Barnivore.com. This website has a vegan alcohol directory that you can search to assure that your drink is vegan.
7. Is it vegan?
Unsure if something is vegan? This app will allow you to check any packaged food for non-vegan ingredients. Simply scan the barcode of any food or beverage, and the app will do the rest. This is truly an amazing tool to answer the question you always find yourself asking.
8. Connect with others.
There will definitely be other people on campus eating vegan like you. Reach out by joining vegan/vegetarian groups on campus. Coming together with other vegans will make maintaining a vegan diet even easier. You can create strong bonds with people whom you never would have met before, all because of veganism.
Maintaining a vegan diet in college isn't as hard as it may seem. Your body, the animals and the planet will thank you.
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