Going into college, I was worried about maintaining my vegan diet on a meal plan. However, I have found that while it is challenging, it is not impossible. Here are the tips I have found help the most.
1. Keep vegan snacks in your dorm.
I have a huge bin full of protein bars and nuts to help give me energy throughout the day. These can be purchased on Amazon Prime (which is discounted for students). I like to eat a protein bar for breakfast before class to help me stay full until lunch.
2. Utilize the salad bar.
Many college dining halls have a salad bar at every meal. At my school, the salad bar also has good vegan toppings like chickpeas and beans. This is a great way to supplement your meal in the dining hall and also get your veggies in.
3. See if your school has a vegan section.
In my dining hall, there is a special vegan station that I can depend on to have food I can eat. My school also has an allergy friendly section, free of animal products, in the non-meat items. My first stop at every meal is the vegan section, because I know I will always have a food option there.
4. Go grocery shopping.
If there is a grocery store near your college, use your free time to buy fresh fruits and veggies, as well as other vegan snacks or meal supplements. If there's ever a day with sketchy dining hall food (which there will be), you won't have to go hungry. My personal favorites are Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, both of which I can easily access on public transportation.
5. Use your dining hall to-go meals.
My college allows students to have two to-go meals each day, which is great if there is a particularly good vegan option at that meal. After you eat, use another meal swipe to take some leftovers for any time you need a quick bite to eat or don't want to walk all the way to the dining hall.
6. Make vegan friends!
This may seem weird, but having friends who are also vegan will give you a support system for your diet. Additionally, you can share dining hall tips with each other and share favorite snack options.
While maintaining a vegan diet in college can be tricky at times, it is completely possible. Your body will thank you!
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