Are you tired of eating macaroni and cheese for every meal? Is the lack of vegetarian options in the dining hall getting you down? Eating healthful vegetarian food prevails as a difficult task in college. Behind every corner lurks the temptation of carbs thanks to the campus bakery, and you always feel tired and hungry for some reason. To get out of your dining funk, try these tips for eating healthy vegetarian food in college.
1. Bring along a crock-pot and/or rice cooker
Say hello to your new best friends, your handy crockpot and rice cooker. If your dorm allows them, these items save you from surviving solely on peanut butter. As a person who hates sunlight and turning off Netflix, I ate over 50 pounds of rice in the past two years. You can make a wide variety of easy dishes in the crock-pot; for instance, vegetarian hot dogs, meatballs or chili.
2. Utilize the greatest invention: the microwave
Considering myself a lazy vegetarian, my microwave is the only thing (other than my rice cooker) keeping me well fed. Microwaves save us vegetarians from our carb- and potato chip- eating habits by making it easy to heat up healthy meals in just minutes. You can cook oatmeal, vegetables and quinoa in the microwave–add a few beans to your quinoa or some vegetable bouillon to your rice and you’ve got yourself a healthy and filling meal.
3. Chat up the campus chef
While most campuses embrace the vegetarian lifestyle by marking vegetarian-friendly foods, they sometimes offer meat alternatives that don’t go on display. I spent two years on my campus eating egg whites before someone told me that they offered tofu scramblers. Next time you eat on campus, ask the employees what vegetarian items they offer. Behind the scenes the kitchen has plenty of veggie dogs and burgers to go around.
4. Join a club and befriend the vegetarians
When surrounded by people who think the same way you do, maintaining your diet seems so much easier. Joining your campus’s vegetarian or vegan club introduces you to people who know the ins and outs of college eating and give you recipes to try. I’ve learned valuable lessons hanging out with vegans and vegetarians, such as ‘peanut butter is a vegan’s best friend’ and ‘alcohol is fun because you already know it’s vegetarian.’
5. Discover off-campus vegetarian restaurants
You probably don’t have the funds to go out to a restaurant every night for dinner. But sometimes I just don’t feel like going to the dining hall. That’s when my local Chinese restaurant saves the day. Many restaurants in your area likely offer meat alternatives and green menus for vegans. You probably can’t survive off General Tso’s tofu forever, but at least it satiates your hunger for one night.
6. Embrace the salad bar
Salads take the cake as the most boring meal to eat. I can’t even look at a salad without yawning from boredom and disinterest. But your school’s salad bar likely offers a wide selection of vegetarian-friendly foods that you can use to create or add to a meal. Chickpeas, bean sprouts and raw vegetables spice up your pasta or add protein to your meal. Or mash up the chickpeas and make your own hummus for a study snack.
7. Learn to love vitamins
Let’s face it, you can’t always eat healthy. Sometimes you’re simply too busy with work and school, or maybe you just don’t feel like cooking after a long day. Either way, vitamins help make up for iron or vitamin B12 deficiencies. As someone who had anemia before she became a vegetarian, believe me when I say vitamins save your life. It was either take an iron supplement every few days or eat 8 cans of beans a week. I think I made the right choice.
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