Veganism gets a bad rap for being a complicated and time consuming way of eating. Add college into the mix and most people will associate veganism as an impossible feat. The truth is, eating vegan in college can be easy, cheap, and just as simple as a standard diet. Between balancing piles of homework as a STEM major and working/volunteering, I don’t have a ton of time to spend on cooking. However, starting college last year didn’t mean giving up my vegan diet (which I’ve been following for almost three years). Rather, it meant focusing on simplicity and nutrients. I’m sharing how I’ve maintained my vegan diet in college, and how you can too, through a typical day of what I eat.
1. Oatmeal: This is my go-to, easy breakfast that takes just ten minutes to make. Top with seeds/nut butter and fruit for extra protein and nutrients. *no-stove option* Make overnight oats with a plantbased milk of choice for a quick breakfast that requires no cooking!
2. Toast: This is a tasty no-kitchen-needed option if you don’t have access to one in your dorm. And, the combos are endless (avocado toast, jam and butter, peanut butter and banana toast, etc.).
3. Plantbased yogurt bowl: While vegan yogurts tend to be a little more on the pricey side, I purchase them every once in a while. Topped with granola and fruit, they’re a quick and healthy breakfast.
1. Smoothie/smoothie bowl: This option does require a blender, which most students in dorms might not have access to. However, getting a blender was definitely worth it for me as I have a smoothie for lunch pretty much every day! It takes about 10 minutes to make and you can add things like protein powder to get some extra protein in.
2. Veggie sandwich/wrap: Add veggies like cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, and hummus to make a healthy sandwich that requires no kitchen equipment. Or, wrap in a tortilla.
Dinner is pretty interchangeable with lunch, so these ideas could work for both!
1. Black bean tacos: Use corn tortillas, canned black beans, and avocado for a simple dinner that doesn’t require any kitchenware.
2. Pasta: Pasta is a go-to dinner of mine since it’s quick and easy, and can be made so many different ways (pesto pasta, marinara, pasta salad, and more).
3. Nourish bowls: Nourish bowls/buddha bowls are perfect meal prep so you don’t have to worry about cooking throughout the week. Pick a day to cook a grain, like quinoa or rice, and roast sweet potatoes, veggies and/or tofu for the week. Pair with canned beans, avocado, and lettuce for a healthy dinner that, prepared in advance, takes little time to assemble.
If you need a pick-me-up between meals, try pre-popped popcorn, energy/granola bars, apples and peanut/almond butter, or carrots and hummus.
Veganism is a more than a diet for many; it’s a lifestyle with the goal of being cruelty free to animals and environmentally friendly. Going to college is a big change, but it doesn’t mean having to give up these values! With a little planning, eating vegan can be simple for anyone.