You’re out on your own and trying to make a future for yourself. You’re truly independent for the first time in your life. College is the perfect time to implement lifestyle changes. You’re already doing a lot of self-discovery and self-improvement. If you’ve ever been interested in going vegan, college is the right time to start making that change. It can be a little tricky to implement, but if you know what you’re getting yourself into, it’s no big deal.
1. Prioritize Protein in Snacks
Junk food is always readily available on college campuses, but much of it isn’t vegan. Cheesy snacks and meaty snacks are everywhere. You’ll need to build up your own snack stash. You may have heard that vegans don’t get enough protein, but that only applies to vegans who carelessly munch on junk food. Prioritizing vegan protein in your snacks is a surprisingly easy way to handle two problems at once. Swap greasy nachos for some yummy whole grain tortilla chips and hummus. Ditch premade snack cakes in favor of peanut butter and crackers.
2. Look at Your Local Eateries
Your friends are going to want to go out to eat. Don’t despair! You don’t have to sit in your dorm by yourself when everyone else is out having a good time. You may not be able to convince all of them to go to a vegan restaurant, but you may be able to go to a traditional restaurant that still has options for you. Being a vegan at a restaurant is nowhere near as hard as it used to be – many people have become vegans, and some people casually eat vegan or vegetarian for health reasons. Check out what restaurants can accommodate you.
3. Learn to Cook
Most college students don’t cook. You may be familiar with the common rumor that people gain weight during their first year of college. Students are busy, dorms are often ill-equipped for budding chefs, and everyone is working on a budget. You won’t be able to get most fast food, so you’ll need to be able to feed yourself. If you purchase vegan ingredients economically and prepare meals ahead of time, you might actually find that you spend less than you would if you were to rely on ready-made or fast foods.
4. Take Your Vitamins
Vegans do need to take vitamins to make up for the things they’ve removed from their diet. Vitamin B12 is the most important. A deficiency can make you really sick, and you might want to take your B12 in tablet or sublingual form. Removing foods from your diet could possibly narrow your variety, and you may not know what you’re missing. Listen to your body and take a multivitamin while you’re researching the huge variety of vegan foods that will help bring you some nutritional balance.
5. Don’t Expect Everything to Go Perfectly
You’re going to slip up and eat dairy or meat occasionally. It may not be a result of your willpower failing you – it could be because animal products are hiding in some of the places you’d least expect. You might have a few accidents here and there because you didn’t realize eggs were lurking in an unusual place. You might also have cravings for regular pizza. There’s nothing wrong with that. You might have to acclimate slowly. Reducing your intake of meat and dairy is one of the easiest, softest ways to come to a complete stop. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You need to be ready to fully commit.
Being a vegan is different, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Like any big change, it’s something you’re going to have to adapt to. Once you’re comfortable and knowledgeable in your veganism, it will become a long-term sustainable change that can stay with you for the rest of your life.