Nowadays, being a vegetarian has gotten simpler through the increase of meatless options in restaurants and supermarkets as well as with the emergence of specialty stores. However, being a vegetarian in college is a whole new ball game. Universities have varying amounts of options and at first glance, it can become a very expensive choice. Here are a few tips to help you maintain your decision to be vegetarian without sacrificing your budget for the cause.
1. Dining Halls Can Be Your Best Friend. Buffet style dining halls usually offer salad and meatless options. Also, don’t be afraid to ask dining hall chefs if there was meat used to cook a specific item. You can even snag some stuff from the dining hall to stock up on in your room. Note: bring a container with you to pack your goodies.
2. Follow blogs that share foods for people on a budget. Blogs such as zagleft and cheap vegetarian provide cheap and easy recipes for vegetarians. It might be hard to follow some of these if you live in a dorm room, but take advantage of those kitchenette areas in your common room.
3. Stock up on frozen vegetarian entrees. Single dinners such as Smart Ones, Amy’s Kitchen and Stouffer’s can come in handy on weekends when dining hall hours are less convenient. Remember to check for sales on these items at your local grocery store. Most of the time they come with some sort of Buy 1 get 1 deal, or even a buy 2 for $5.
4. Stack up on sides. If you decide to go out to eat, most meals that come with meat stay the same price if you decide to nix the meat. Usually, the sides don’t have meat in them and they are so much cheaper. Try getting a soup and salad, or baked potatoes with a lunch portion of the entree. are usually made without meat. These are cheaper than garden burgers or meals that contain tofu.
5. Keep vegetarian-friendly snacks around. This will help you resist the temptation of easy to order meat foods, and keep you satisfied throughout the day. Most chips, pretzels and crackers are free of meat, but read labels to make sure. Fruits and vegetables are another good option, but they don’t last over two weeks so make sure to eat them before their expiration date! You can even pack dips like hummus and ranch dressing if plain raw veggies isn’t your thing. Spread some peanut butter on that apple, too. If you can, venture off campus and find some local farmer’s markets to get your fresh produce fix.
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