As mid-August approaches, the most dreadful time of the year is right around the corner…. and I think we both know what that is….
As much as it pains me to write this post, I know it is necessary to help all the youngens out there going off to college and university. My heart is breaking because Summer is my favourite season. I love the sun, the warmth, swimming, tanning, exploring, adventuring, and… ya know, not going to school.
So without further adieu, here are my tips for being vegan in college or university. (Point formed because well, they’re pretty straight forward)
Eating food in the dining hall and meal plans:
- I lived on residence first year and had a meal plan that consisted of 12 meals a week. I went vegan in January/February, but even before that I would always keep certain food in my room because I preferred making my own meals. For breakfast I would make oatmeal, then go to class. I’d come back to my room, make a smoothie for lunch, then go back to class. Then I’d always eat dinner in the dining hall that would consist of a big salad with either potatoes, rice, veggies, fries, or whatever else they had that I could eat. One could say that it’s a waste of money, but my mealplan was pre-paid and I didn’t know I was going to go vegan… but if you are a vegan going into college or uni, then just buy the smallest meal plan and make do with what you can in your dining hall, and buy a few groceries for what you need.
Is it hard to cook food in a dorm?
- I didn’t do any cooking because like I stated above, I would eat dinner in the dining hall. But if you consider oatmeal cooking, I brought my own kettle and would boil water and pour it into the bowl to mix the oatmeal. Some colleges or universities have little kitchens on each floor so you can bring your own kettle/microwave/toaster/fridge whatever you want, but there are also sometimes appliances in the kitchen areas. My dorm had a kitchen that we could rent out, but I never got a chance to use it.
What to keep in your room?
- Whatever you eat. So in my case, I always kept stocked up on bananas so I could ripen and freeze them for smoothies. I’d also put them on my oatmeal. Also fruit (Strawberries and blueberries) to put in smoothies and on oatmeal. Ummm, almond milk, peanut butter, spinach/kale, mangos, apples, kiwi, oranges, crackers, chips, bread, etc.
How do friends react to it?
- They didn’t really care that much. I ate my stuff, they ate their stuff. Except sometimes they’d ask questions and be like, “wait, can you have this?” And of course there was always ‘ice cream night’, or muffins being handed out in the caf. And treats in class. But if you have a motivation and continue to remind yourself of it, then you won’t fail.
Is it hard going shopping and keeping stuff in a small area?
- No not really. On the weekends that I’d go home, I’d stock up on all the main stuff I ate. Then when I was at Uni, I’d take the bus into town some weeks and get stuff I needed. Also one of my friend’s had a car so sometimes I’d go with her.
- I designated an area in my dorm-room for all my food, and I also brought my mini fridge so it was easy to keep all my stuff in one place.
- Washed them in my room because I had a shared bathroom, but there was also a common room that had a sink.
The loud blender?
- I used it during off times when I hoped it wouldn’t annoy people too much. And if I really needed to use it, people can just suck it up. It takes like 1 minute to blend a smoothie.
Living off campus with roommates:
- I would walk or take the bus down the street to the closest grocery store.
- Always look at flyers to see when there are sales to get the cheapest deals.
- Bring reusable bags/your own cart and stock up on everything you need for that week.
- Make a list so you don’t miss or forget anything when you go. (I always forgot at least 1 thing)
Packing food for lunch when you’re on campus all day
- Use lots of tupperware containers.
- Meal prep and make your meals the night before if you know you have a busy day.
- Pack easy lunches or snacks like sandwiches, lots of fruit, lara bars or other snack bars, nuts, crackers, etc.
- Bring money if you know that there are veg friendly options to buy something on campus. (noodles, sandwiches, etc)
- Just do your thing and don’t let people bring you down.
- Don’t bring up the fact that you are vegan unless people ask.
- Tell the waiter/hostess/etc that you are allergic to certain things so that they make sure not to give it to you.
- Don’t make a big deal about it.
- If someone offers you something you can’t have, just politely say “no thank you”
- Give it time and the more people learn, the more they will come around. My roomies always came to this one vegan restaurant with me and they loved it!
- I’m a very neat and organized person; also a perfectionist. Also a cleanfreak; so I brought a few of my own dishes to the house and used certain separate ones than my roommates.
- I also created a sponge system so we each have our own sponge so nothing cross contaminates (eggs, meat, cheese, etc)
- I washed pots/pans/large bowls with steaming hot water and soap before using it (those are the things we all shared)
- Use the dishwasher as well if you have one. (I personally wash most of my dishes by hand)
- My roomies and I also have a sticker system so we put a colour star on stuff that is ours so that it is not confused and that no one eats your things.
I hope this helps, and if you have any questions, feel free to comment them below! Have a great semester everyone xx