No matter the reason you’ve chosen to be vegan, adjusting to a new environment in college, while maintaining this lifestyle, can be tricky. Follow these tips on how to be vegan in college to keep yourself on track, even in the dining hall!
1. Do your research
Being vegan, it’s difficult to find suitable meals outside your kitchen without doing some research first. If you have dinner plans, look up the menu beforehand or suggest a restaurant that you know you’ll have options at. The same goes for the dining hall; many schools will post the daily menu online. This way you’ll know what to expect, and you can choose what to eat throughout the day depending on what you know is on the menu for later. Also, be sure to look up vegan friendly stores, food co-ops, and farmers markets in your area. You’ll be surprised how many options there are.
2. Stock up on snacks
Going from class to class can keep you busy; often you won’t even have time to find suitable food in between. Make sure to pack up granola bars, fruit and nuts (I recommend Cascadian Farms oatmeal raisin granola bars) for your busiest days. This way you’ll always have something healthy and vegan-friendly to snack on, no matter how hectic your days get.
3. Plan your meals
Think beforehand of what you would like to eat each day to avoid skipping meals. If you eat at a dining hall, check what will be available that day. I was fortunate enough to have an entire “vegan room” in my dining hall that would prepare a different meal each day. If your school does not accommodate the vegan diet, don’t be afraid to speak with the manager and work something out. On the other hand, if you have a kitchen available to you, plan out each meal before grocery shopping so you know exactly what (and what not) to buy. This way, you’ll avoid wasting money on food you don’t need, and you’ll save money cooking for yourself.
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4. Find other vegans
Does your school have a vegan, vegetarian, or animal rights club? If you find one, join it! If not, this is a great opportunity to take initiative and start a club you feel passionately about. You’ll meet tons of people with similar interests, and it’s a great resume builder!
5. Eat vegan junk food (but not too much)
Whether you’re stressed out over finals or are just craving a snack, being vegan doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy junk food every once in a while. Surprising vegan snacks include potato chips, Fritos, Oreos, Dorito’s spicy sweet, dark chocolate, graham crackers and popcorn. The list goes on, but just don’t overdo it. One of the great things about being a vegan is that your diet tends to be healthier than most people, try not to ruin this with junk food.