- Know your dining hall.
If you’re not yet in college and you’re trying to decide where to go, check the Vegan Report Card from Peta. This is a list of colleges ranked by how well their dining halls accommodate plant-based diets. However, don’t rely on dining halls alone. There are probably many types of students attending the college you’re looking at and many types of diets that dining halls have to accommodate. Do your research.
<< This is a screenshot from my university’s only vegan menu. Sad and discouraging, right? I know.
2. Stock your dorm room.
This is a good way to take matters into your own hands. I would try to steer away from turning your 2×2 closet (if you have one at all) into a make-shift kitchen. If you have the space, I’d invest in a mini fridge and a small storage area for pantry items. Plus the convenience of running to your dorm for a healthy snack between classes instead of stopping at the dining hall and spending your money is unparalleled.
3. Know your local grocery stores.
When I first moved onto campus at the University of Delaware, I lived in an off-campus apartment so I was fortunate enough to have tons of space for groceries- which I took full advantage of. This was my first time living outside of my childhood home and I had no idea how to grocery shop. I remember spending upwards of $200 the first time I went grocery shopping by myself. Cringe. After a few months of careful, mindful shopping, I mastered the local produce stands and flea markets. Again: Do. Your. Research. I found out that there was a local produce market about 10-15 minutes away from my apartment and I bought pounds of veggies at a time for a fraction of the cost at my local Acme. It is very possible to shop on a budget, you just have to do the work. For college students without a car, this will be a little bit more tricky but totally doable.
Utilize your parents! They’re paying tons of money on tuition, I’m sure they’d be thrilled to hear you’d rather have them grocery shop and send you food than spending more money on a meal plan. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no!
Join a community! Find vegan friends, plan grocery trips together. Socialize! One of them is bound to have a car.
4. Stay on track
Finding your groove is going to take some time and it will be a lot of work at first. But much like adjusting to class schedules takes time, so does settling into life routines. You’re going to be trying to settle into a sleep schedule, a work schedule if you have a job, making friends, and other things. It will all be okay. Don’t let your diet fall by the wayside. Trust me, your body will thank you.
So while your friends are drunkenly devouring multiple slices of Grottos pizza at a time, remember what your values are. Hell, if you want pizza, eat it. But habits take time to develop so don’t put your health on the back burner.