So, you’re finally on your way to college! Well, give yourself a pat on the back—hey, between taking those standardized tests and filling out those apps, that sh*t is NO JOKE. Now as a vegan, you might be thinking, “A vegan in COLLEGE—is that even a thing?”
Uhhhhh … KALE, YEAH, it’s a thing! And we’ve got endless amounts of advice to help get you through. So before you get frustrated, check out these tips:
1) Check out our vegan-friendly college list. Looking for a college that caters to an animal-free diet? Look no further—we’ve got that covered for you right here.
2) Get friendly with your dining hall staff. As soon as you’ve picked the school you’ll be attending, contact the campus dining hall. If vegan options are lacking, let the staff know about your dietary needs. You can even share your favorite vegan cookbooks so that they’re not completely clueless about what to cook. Just be persistent. You HAVE to eat—they know this, and you know this.
3) Pick a flexible meal plan. Most college dining halls offer several meal plans. Ideally, it’s best to go with an option that allows you to use the leftover cash value to buy your own food from the store. NOW, don’t go spending that cash on video games and spring break. Instead, stock up on vegan goodies that you can keep in your room.
4) Invest in kitchenware. I’m not talking about utensils because community kitchens already have those, so don’t waste your money. But consider getting a mini fridge, toaster oven, microwave, rice cooker, or blender. You don’t need ALL these, but having even just one will make your life waaaaaay easier. And ask your folks to help with this one—hey, that’s what they’re there for, right?
5) Don’t forget the dorm kitchen. Most people don’t even realize that dorm kitchens exist, but they do—and they’re glorious because, well, they’re always free since no one ever uses them. Now I know that everyone’s not into cooking, but if you are, using the dorm kitchen is always an option. And you can whip up some #delish home-cooked meals in no time. #WIN!
6) Use our accidentally vegan list. No matter where you live—I’ll say it again: NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE—you can find vegan food in your area. Check out our list of accidentally vegan foods and never go hungry again.
7) Grow some (legal) herbs. If you’re planning to decorate your new crib with plants, make them edible plants. You can get super-cheap potted veggies and herbs at the local home improvement store or farmer’s market. Even broke-ass vegans can afford them.
8) Keep snacks with you. Goodies like food bars, trail mix, and kale chips are all good snacks for when you’re in classes or studying. You can also score free fruit in the dining hall and keep it in your new mini fridge!
9) Learn to cook. If you can read, YOU CAN COOK. You can pimp out every meal by using the easy tips from PETA’s Vegan College Cookbook. Seriously, even the LAZIEST of vegans can handle these recipes. (Everything is microwaveable!)
10) Shop smart. Yeah, your student budget is tight—been there, done that. Start learning to shop smarter by purchasing ONLY what you need and creating meals based on the food you already have. Wasting food = wasting money. #RealTalk
11) Shop online. If you’re looking for products that you absolutely can’t find in your area, shop online at Vegan Cuts, Vegan Essentials, and Food Fight. Seriously, though, these stores are LIFESAVERS.
12) Join a campus club. Listen, we know that it can be tough being a vegan in a nonvegan world. So make it easier on yourself by joining a student group (or start one!), and join peta2. Having a community of supporters makes a WORLD of a difference. It’s also a nice excuse to throw some rad vegan potluck parties! YASSSSSSSS!
13) Know your surroundings. Use Happy Cow to find the local vegan and vegetarian joints in your town. Invite your friends and show ’em how awesome vegan food is!
Feeling excited for college? Excited to STUDY?! Yeah, I didn’t think so. But hopefully, you’re excited enough to share this and help another person out, too: