Being vegan is one thing, but being vegan in college is a whole different story. With meat and dairy infused dishes already prepared for you in the campus cafeteria and not having a set meal schedule provided, every day can be a gamble. I found it to be quite the adjustment. At home, I was so accustomed to preparing my foods, knowing every single ingredient that was in each dish, ensuring that it followed the “vegan protocol.” Luckily, I discovered these 5 tricks that allowed me to stay on track while at school.
1. Make To-Go Plates from the Cafeteria
The first couple weeks were a struggle. I found myself to be quite hungry all the time because of the lack of vegan options; therefore I compensated. To-Go meals allowed hunger to be the least of my problems. What I packed depended on my schedule. If I were going to the library, I would pack a salad and some fruit (something that wouldn’t perish after an hour or two). If I was going straight to my dorm, a sweet potato and some veggies would hold me off. Whatever I packed had to have fiber to curb my hunger these foods did the trick. Meal prepping came in handy with all-nighters so invest in some Tupperware!
2. Hydration is Key!
Not only can food make you feel full but liquids as well! Before and after meals, I would drink a glass of water. H2O helped tremendously to keep me hydrated and satisfied until my next snack or meal.
3. Become Friendly with Cafeteria Staff
Unfortunately, my school is among the few colleges that lack options for vegans so for a while I was eating the same prepared side dishes (rice, veggies, potatoes). I introduced myself to the staff and told them about my dietary restrictions and they immediately gave me options I didn’t even know were available. My salads quickly turned to hummus wraps (because who can resist hummus) and plain noodles turned to veggie pasta. A delicious turn of events, if I do say so myself.
4. Always Have Snacks on Deck
Having a snack readily available can save you so much time and energy! It’s all about packing the right ones. I always had my dorm and bag stocked with goodies such as granola bars, dried/cupped fruit, crackers and Oreos (of course). Whether I was at the library or in class, snacks were there to save the day whenever my hunger struck.
5. Don’t Give Up
Surviving my first year of college as a vegan was most definitely a learning experience. Trying to figure out what strategies worked best took time but it was worth the effort! If you’re thinking about being vegan in college, keep a positive mindset, put these tips into action, and there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.