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Staying True to Your Vegan Lifestyle as a College Student

Time is a precious commodity, and this is certainly true for the college student. For the vegan student always on the go, this can make maintaining your diet difficult.

Some of the common criticisms of veganism are that it is expensive, time-consuming and bland. However, none of these things are true.

What it is, is different. Research has shown that cutting out animal products and moving to a plant-based diet can have extensive health benefits. According to healthline.com, a vegan diet can lower your chances of developing health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, cancers and more.

The problem is that foods with animal products are all too accessible at times and in places where you would need something quickly. Still, as a college student, it can be done. I have been vegan for four months, and don’t get me wrong, I still have plenty to learn and sometimes miss cheese, but I have developed a system to stay on track.  

The key is to plan ahead. If you have the time to meal prep, that’s great for you. I haven’t personally gotten there yet and take things day by day. For example, if you know you are in for a long day, take a snack or two with you to keep yourself from running on fumes or going to the vending machines.

Continue to plan ahead by stocking up on things at the grocery store. Beans are your friends. Garbanzo beans, kidney beans, black beans and the rest of their family are a great source of protein. They are among the essentials like fruits and vegetables. Buy several varieties of frozen fruits and veggies to squirrel away. For fresh vegetables, the best place to go is the farmer’s market. They are located behind the Martin library and sell their reasonably priced produce on Mondays and Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and on Saturdays at 8 a.m.

Add chia seeds, nutritional yeast and avocados to your stockpile. Chia seeds are high in many nutrients, including iron. Iron plays a vital role in transmitting oxygen to the body’s cells and an insufficient amount can lead to anemia. The seeds are small and tasteless and can be sprinkled in almost everything. Nutritional yeast doubles as a seasoning, providing a savory, nutty flavor and is packed with minerals. According to ecorazzi.com, 1 tablespoon of ‘nooch’ can fulfill the daily requirement for vitamin B12. Avocados are another superfood, much like spinach. I often keep sliced avocado in the fridge to use on toast, sandwiches and as a salad dressing or sauce.  

Know that if you are pressed for time or can’t go to the grocery store, there are other alternatives. On campus, Sandella's and the Chinese place are an option. Also, know that off campus, Hunan Palace has several vegetable and rice combos and even a tofu dish. Taco Bell also offers vegan-friendly options and can substitute meat for beans.

It’s safe to say that keeping up with this lifestyle requires some planning in college, but it’s not time-consuming. And if you didn’t know already, both Starbucks locations on campus offer soy milk for all of your coffee needs.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Kristina is a News Editorial and Public Relations major from the Nashville area who also serves as Executive Editor of The Pacer. She's a procrastinating workaholic who likes to travel and cheer on the Preds.
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