In College Food Lifestyle

"Vegan/Vegetarian Tips from a College Student"

Hello everyone! I started eating vegetarian in August 2013 and I have been through almost any existent type of diet. Plant-based, Raw til 4, High Carb Low Fat, you name it... You should check out my vegan/vegetarian story! In the last 4 and a half years I have learned a lot about what nourishes my body, how to cook and prep meals, and XXX.

After trying 15+ different types of diets, I have found that my favorite is the high carb low fat. There is something about seating down and eating bowls and bowls of rice with veggies that makes me really happy. Also, can we take a moment to appreciate nice cream?! But, when I came to college things got complicated. I didn't have a kitchen or access to food 24/7. Actually, I had 3 meals a day and none of them were carboloading material. They were more like salads made of 70% lettuce and some other veggies, no whole grains, no healthy fats, no carbs!

After 2 years of being handling this situation... I have come up with a survival guide for vegan and vegetarians college students! I literally live by this, and they are pretty much my daily hacks.

Snacks! Snacks! Snacks!
Snacks are a life saver! As vegetarians or vegans, our body process the food pretty fast, and as college students we are always hungry, so just trust me and get a looot of snacks to keep the energy up and the hunger away.

Pro tip: Buy boxes of your favorite snacks from Amazon or any website. You are 99% likely to save a ton of money in the long run. For example, my favorite bars are the brownie clif bars. My college c-store sells them fro $2.99, while, on Amazon, a box of 12 is less than $12!

Hack your Dinning Hall
My college can be considered vegan friendly, we got a couple options here and there and they even do vegan/vegetarian days. But if your dinning hall does not offer any option for you, you can talk to someone and suggest the introduction of some veggie friendly options. Or you can be smart and hack it! 

  • Bring some dairy-free yogurt and top it with all the berries, fruits, and cereals available.
  • Order a salad and some extra delicious toppings. I usually add some quinoa, sweet potatoes, and my own dressing. 
  • Bring some avocados and take our toasts to the next level
Another good idea, and if you are allowed to, grab some fruits and snacks from the dinning hall. I would usually grab an apple and/or a banana. This are so easy to carry in your backpack and they will save you when you get hungry. Again, snacks are necessary!

Talk to a Dietitian
Don´t be like me! Don't think you have everything under control. One day I went to the health center and got a routine blood test, just to find out I I had low vitamin D and B12. Also, I suffer from low sugar. Turns out the reason why I felt so sleepy during lectures was because of my nutrition and not because of boredom.

If she works at the university health center, there is a high chance that she knows what foods are offered in all the dinning halls and restaurants at your school. She can be a great source of information of where to find meals with a great nutritional value and that will help you reach your goals.I was so lucky my dietitian was plant-based vegan, we clicked immediately and she helped me come up with quick meals and snacks that would fit my crazy college schedule.

Pinterest is your Friend
In case your dietitian is not much help, cause some of them are just not... a quick search on Pinterest will solve all your problems. There are post about meals you can prepare in a dorm room using only a microwave to full week-long meal plan that doesn't require cooking. 

Get a rice Cooker + Blender
I would also include a microwave, but most dorms and apartments already include this. One morning you are in a rush and just need something to go? Smoothie! I used mine sooo much while I lived in the dorms. I would get tired of all the unhealthy food, and just craved some refreshing, nourishing food. Now that I have an apartment, my rice cooker is my lifesaver. I literally pour the rice (or pasta or veggies) and water, go do my homework, and BOOM! food is magically ready.

Pro tip: Be creative! Rice cookers are not only for rice. I make pasta, just gotta be careful with the timing if you like it al dente. Also, it you get one of those steamer trays you can make some delicious veggies, too.

Treat Yo'self!
You know I am all about treating yourself and nourishing your body. So girl, if you feel like having a whole bar of dark chocolate, go ahead. If you feel like eating pints of dairy-free ice cream, do it! I prefer baking my own goods, brownies and cookies yum! The reason I do not do it often is cause I do not have anyone to share it with (forever alone...) so I will end up eating it all.

Have Fun!
Do NOT get too stressed about needing to be a perfectly healthy vegan or vegetarian or whatever diet you are following. It will not happen... This is college and it is crazy busy. Some days your only option will be junk food and that is ok. I just want to say that not-so-healthy calories are way better than no calories. Sometimes you gotta be flexible and adapt, accept what you have. But also, this is college and it is supposed to be fun! So do not waste your time in this little things and live your life!

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