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A Guide to Eating Vegan and Healthy in College

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College is not just a place to learn, gain new experiences, and meet people. It also comes with endless coffee, cheap unhealthy food, and lack of sleep. It is possible to be healthy in college though; even better, it’s possible to be a healthy vegan in college! Even if you’re living on a budget in a dorm room, you can still do it. Read on for a guide on how to accomplish this.

1. Shop at local markets
You can save a lot of money by shopping weekly at the farmer’s market. This is great because you’re supporting local farmers, getting great fresh fruit and vegetable, and you can also eat what’s in season. Local markets are known to be much cheaper than the grocery store, so be sure to take a bit of time on the weekend for this – plus you’ll get a nice walk for some exercise! Look for bananas, apples, oranges, carrots, cucumbers, spinach, and celery, which are great options for dorm cooking.

2. Focus on frozen fruits and vegetables and a couple frozen meals
The main problem with students eating in dorms, vegan and otherwise, is the lack of vegetables. Get some frozen green beans, broccoli, edamame, and green peas, which are great to reheat and mix with some beans and grains for quick and easy meals. Frozen fruit can also be added to smoothies or oatmeal for breakfast. Stock up on a couple of frozen meals for emergencies when you don’t have time to cook something.

3. Get healthy non-perishables
It’s easy to stock up on non-perishables, not to mention cheap and healthy. Things like canned beans, oats, nuts, dried fruit, soup, granola, and quinoa are great staples. They are the base of easy meals and they never expire. You can store these in one of your dorm drawers.

4. Get a mini fridge
It’s worth investing in your own mini fridge, especially because you’ll want space for your fruits and vegetables. You also don’t want your amazing healthy food to disappear overnight when you keep them in the communal fridge.

5. Bulk prep food
When you have a less busy week in class, use the dorm kitchen to bulk prep your meals. You can cook staples like quinoa and roasted vegetables to avoid doing this during the week. You’ll be happy you took the time when you finish a late class and don’t have to cook to eat a healthy vegan meal.

6. Keep good recipes
When you make a good recipe, keep it handy. Things like smoothies, oatmeal, and beans and rice will be staple meals for you. You can always go back to that list when you’re finding meals to make or you’re running low on certain foods. Use Google and Pinterest to find great healthy meals that you can make in the dorm and with inexpensive, easy ingredients.

7. Bring snacks to class
You should always be prepared to be hungry in class and it pays to be prepared with handy healthy snacks. This saves you money because you won’t go buy something at the cafeteria, which would probably be unhealthy anyway. Dried fruits and nuts, hummus and veggies, or a granola bar are all great options for energy snacks.

8. Drink enough water
The best way to stay healthy and avoid hunger pangs is to stay hydrated with enough water. Get a nice reusable water bottle that you can bring to class and refill on campus. Half of the time when we get hungry, it’s actually thirst.

9. Find vegan on-campus options
Research what your vegan options are on campus so you know what your options are and so you can avoid greasy and highly processed food. You can also load up on fresh vegetables at the salad bar and get fruit in the dining hall. Look online for any great inexpensive vegan restaurants off-campus in your area.

10. Ask around
More and more people are going vegan these days, so don’t be afraid to ask others for suggestions. Speak to your college about dining hall options, and maybe you’ll make friends in your dorm that are vegans too.

Article by Aimee Laurence, a journalist with UKWritings.com, shares her thoughts on eating plant-based and healthy. She enjoys finding ways to make healthy vegan eating accessible for all.