No matter the reason you’ve chosen to become vegan, adjusting to a new environment in college while maintaining this lifestyle is tricky. Follow these tips to help keep yourself on track, even at the dining hall!
1. Do your research
While personally being vegan, I find it difficult to find suitable meals outside of your own kitchen without first researching your options. If you have dinner plans with friends, 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 without breaks is tough, and you won’t have much time to find suitable food in between. Make sure to pack granola bars, fruits, or nuts for your on-the-go busy 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 due to lack of options or planning.
If you eat at a dining hall, check what will be available for you that day on the website. I was fortunate enough to have an entire “vegan room” in my dining hall that would prepare a different vegan 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. You’ll be able to avoid wasting money on food you don’t need, and you’ll save money cooking for yourself.
4. Reach Out
Does your school have vegan, vegetarian, or animal rights clubs? If you find one, join it! If not, this lack of representatiion is a perfect opportunity to take initiative and start a club you feel passionately about. You’ll meet tons of people with similar interests to you, and it’s a great resume builder as well.
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 and on, but just don’t overdo it!