How to Survive College as a Vegan
By: Sawyer Cecena
College is all about trying new things and expanding your horizons, which makes it a great time to go vegan! Or, maybe you’ve already been a vegan for a while, but are worried about maintaining that lifestyle in college. These fears are incredibly valid, as sometimes it can be difficult to find affordable vegan options near you (and, let’s face it – if you’re a college student, you’re definitely on the lookout for something affordable!). Take advantage of these tips to help you stick to get the most out of college without compromising your veganism!
Savor The “Accidentally Vegan” Snacks
Did you know Oreos are vegan? What about Ritz Crackers? Red Bull? Cinnamon Life cereal? Thomas’ everything bagels? Yep, all vegan! While none of these are labeled as “vegan foods”, they all fit the criteria of having no animal products in the ingredients list. So, if your non-vegan friends are worried that study dates in your dorm will turn into kale chips and seaweed, don’t sweat! You can still provide some awesome snacks they already eat without compromising your lifestyle.
Deck Out Your Dorm Room
If you’re living on campus, you probably don’t have access to a kitchen. But, that doesn’t mean cooking in your dorm is totally out of the question! If you’ve got the space (and your school allows!) consider splurging on some smaller kitchen essentials like a mini-fridge, small microwave, blender, and storage containers for non-perishables. You can find recipes online for meals to make without a stove, like these delicious mug pastas or some sweet smoothies. For those long nights, snag yourself some vegan frozen microwave meals like Smart One’s Sesame Noodles with Vegetables or Amy’s Baked Ziti Bowl. Mmm!
Research Local Restaurants
Eating out may not be an option every night. But when your crew wants to celebrate after their last finals or the big game, you’ll want to know what your options are! Big cities like Los Angeles or New York will have the most variety. If you’re in a smaller area, be on the lookout for popular chains like Chipotle, Denny’s, P.F. Chang’s, or Cheesecake Factory that include vegan meals on their regular menus. Take a peek at this list by Urban Tastebud which includes over 100 chain restaurants that have safe, vegan options.
Don’t Forget Your Dining Hall
Every school’s dining hall is different, so some will offer more variety for vegans than others. It never hurts to research the dining options at the colleges you’re applying to beforehand. If you’ve already been accepted, you can see if your school has been included on the Vegan Report Card, which ranks universities based on the vegan options on their menus. Don’t immediately freak out if your school has little to nothing for you to eat. You can always try reaching out to your dining hall to encourage them to add more choices!
What are your best tips for being vegan in a more limited lifestyle? Please share your tips and tricks, we'd love to share!