4 Tips for Being a Healthy Vegan in College
Being vegan in college doesn’t mean you have to eat the same old foods every day. With a little bit of planning, you can easily eat fun, healthy, plant-based meals while attending classes and football games.
Below are 4 ways you can maintain your lifestyle and be vegan in college:
Know Your Substitutes
Vegan recipes can be hard to find. So instead of scouring the internet for them, take traditional recipes and substitute the non-vegan ingredients for vegan ones. In order to do this though, you’ll need to know your substitutions.
Here are some of the more popular vegan substitutions:
- Milk – Soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or rice milk
- Eggs (to eat) – Tofu scramble
- Eggs (for baking) – Applesauce or pureed soft tofu
- Cottage / ricotta cheese – Crumbled tofu or soaked raw nuts
- Sour cream – Non dairy yogurt
- Beef / chicken broth – Vegetable broth
Having these items on hand in your dorm or apartment will make snacking and making meals easy.
Get to Know Your Dining Hall and/or Local Restaurants
Getting a vegan meal at a college dining hall used to be challenging. However colleges are now starting to offer Meatless Monday, a variety of vegetable sides, and other meatless and dairy-free dishes, in addition to their regular menu.
And while your dining halls meals won’t be extravagant, you can get some variety by eating the salad bar, asking for vegetable sides only, hitting up the tofu line, or having fruit and cereal.
A good site to check your University’s vegan meal status is the Vegan Report Card. This site rates how well a university offers vegan and/or plant-based meals to its student body.
It’s also a good idea to see what local restaurants offer vegan meals or can substitute to accommodate your diet. This can help you and your friends decide on where to go for lunch or dinner.
Have Staple Ingredients on Hand
A good way to ensure you always have something healthy (and vegan!) to eat is to keep staple foods handy. If you’re in a dorm, investing in a mini fridge is a really good idea to help you store fresh fruits, veggies, vegan milk, and non-dairy yogurt.
You can also bring some of these items from the dining hall – store them in your room fridge and eat them later!
Other dry vegan staples you should have on hand include:
- Cashews – great for snacking!
- Oats – great for baking/cooking and for eating!
Explore Different Foods
College is the time to try new things – and exploring food is no different. Don’t be afraid to expand your vegan palette: adding spice to kick traditional meals up a notch, including lots of veggies in dishes that don’t typically include veggies, or trying new cuisines and substituting the protein with tofu.
You can also look into joining a local vegan group where you can meet other like-minded eaters who also want to explore the world of vegan food.
Being a vegan in college doesn’t mean you have to settle for boring and monotonous foods. Try new foods, keep staples on hand, and know your substitutes so you can easily maintain your vegan lifestyle while away at school.