When most people think of a typical college student’s diet, visions of pizza, boxed macaroni-and-cheese, and microwave noodles come to mind. But what do you eat if you’re vegan? Whether you’re a rising college freshman or a current student, use these tips on how to be vegan in college. These suggestions will make life a little easier and a lot more delicious!
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Do Your Research
If you’re in the early stages of applying to college or are looking to transfer to a new university, do your research and see if the schools you want to apply to are vegan-friendly:
- Check out PETA’s Vegan Report Card. Every year, the animal rights organization releases a survey of more than 1,400 colleges and universities’ dining programs across the United States. For each school, they share details such as if they offer non-dairy milk options, have an all-vegan station, and label vegan entrees. PETA also includes how satisfied students are with the school’s vegan offerings as well as student reviews.
- Review meal plan information. Most colleges have information about their dining hall options online, including menus. You may also want to look into how flexible the school’s meal plan options are. Some plans may only let you eat in a dining hall while others might allow you to use your account balance at other on-campus dining spots.
- Look at the surrounding area. Not living on campus? It’s still a good idea to see how vegan-friendly your college town is and what vegan options are available at local restaurants. It may not be essential, but it’s always good to know for social situations or when you need some vegan comfort food while studying for finals.
Thanks to the rise in plant-based diets and more students becoming aware of how their food choices impact the planet, vegan options are now more common on college campuses. In fact, 70% of colleges offer at least one vegan option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Even if your college doesn’t provide dedicated vegan options, it doesn’t mean that you can’t follow a vegan diet—you’ll just have to get a little creative with what’s available to you. For example, you can make easy meals like oatmeal, salads, grain bowls, and veggie sandwiches out of your dining selections.
Pro tip: Always be nice to the dining hall staff. Better yet, talk to them about your dietary needs. They’ll be able to tell you more about how certain items are prepared and how they can be modified to be vegan. Also, if they know that more people are asking for vegan options, they may make changes to future menus.
If you live off-campus and aren’t eating in the dining halls, see what other options are available on campus. Most colleges have popular fast-food chains or other casual restaurants in the student union. More often than not, they’ll have at least one vegan option that can tide you over when hunger strikes.
The Vegan Dorm Room
Dorm room living and cooking is a far cry from what you’re used to at home. Most colleges have strict rules about what kind of appliances you can and can’t have in your dorm room due to fire hazards. So unless your dorm has a kitchen or access to a community kitchen, you’ll have to make do with just a microwave and a mini-fridge.
Here are some tips for eating vegan in your dorm:
- Purchase a dedicated mini-fridge. It may be tempting to want to share one fridge between you and your roommate, but with limited space, it can fill up fast. This also ensures that your roommate doesn’t put tempting non-vegan options in your space.
- Stock up on vegan-friendly snacks and staple foods. For instance, some basic vegan items include oatmeal, plant-based milk, nut butters, canned beans, crackers, bread, hummus, fruits, and veggies.
- Keep easy, dorm-friendly recipes on hand when you want a quick meal. For example, you could easily make overnight oats, veggie sandwiches or roll-ups, salads, and grain bowls with microwave rice or quinoa.
Connect with Other Vegans
Food is one of the easiest ways to connect with people. It’s also a great way to make a large campus feel smaller. Check with your school to see if there are any vegan clubs or groups. In addition, if you see other students in the dining hall eating vegan food, sit down next to them and start a conversation.
Visit Beyond Sushi in NYC
When you properly prepare, going vegan in college is easier than you think. If you’re ready to fuel up on a nutrient-rich, vegan meal, choose Beyond Sushi as your vegan restaurant of choice. We’re best known for our innovative, plant-based offerings and globally-inspired menu that will leave a lasting impact on both your palette and the planet. Dine-in with us or order takeout or delivery today!