When you think of the typical college diet, it probably includes ramen noodles and Taco Bell. A plant based diet may not seem achievable for a college student. However, no matter how much money or time you have, eating a plant based diet in college is possible. These steps will show you the way.
Hack your Food Hall
Every school has varying cafeterias and food plans. At my food hall, there is usually certain foods you can take back to the dorms and some food you cant take back to the dorms. I will bring plastic food containers to a meal and see what I can take. I usually take as much fresh fruit as I can fit. Fresh fruit can be expensive at stores so I make sure to take advantage of what my food hall offers. Fruit make a great snack throughout the day so I don’t have to worry about buying snacks for when I am hungry.
Test the limits of what your cafeteria has to offer and what food can be taken for later. My food hall typically only put out bananas during breakfast. So even if I don’t plan on eating breakfast, I will swing by and pick up a handful for later in the day or week. You may have to go out of your way sometimes in order to take advantage of what your cafeteria has to offer.
Learn To Love Salad
Like most school cafeterias, mine doesn’t have a large offering of vegan friendly meals. There is always a salad bar at every lunch and dinner. Chances are, a salad will be the only opportunity to get most of your servings of greens for the day. I load my salad up with cucumbers, peppers, mushrooms, and whatever is being offered for the day. Try new toppings to find ones that will make your salad tasty.
Eating a salad everyday for dinner or lunch can get old. Trust me, I know this first hand. If you do not want to eat a salad or want a to change it up a little bit but still want to get your servings of greens there is another option…
Invest in a Blender
As a college student, you may not have much money to spare. However, you can find a decent blender for under $50. There are a couple of good options on Amazon (Hamilton Beach and Black & Decker). If your funds are running extremely low, ask your parents to help you out or talk to a friend and split the price and share the blender.
When I really don’t feel like eating a salad or I am craving something sweet, I will make a smoothie. I grab some greens, fruit, and soy milk all from my food hall and whip up a great tasting smoothie. There is no reason to pay $5 or $6 for a smoothie when you can make your own with ingredients you picked up for free from your cafeteria. I also have a smoothie recipe for after my workouts that you can read about here.
The final step is to be proactive. If your cafeteria does not provide any vegan or vegetarian options, talk to a manager or whoever is in charge of the cafeteria. Find other students like you and sign a petition or form a club in order to show that there is a strong number of students that want change. Hopefully your school offers vegan and vegetarians options. But if not, you can be the one to change that.
Do you have any other tips for all those vegan college students out there? Let me know below!