9 Great Tips for Uni Vegans
We get it. You have to pretend to be a little sad when you say bye to Mum and Dad as you leave for uni. You’re intuitive enough to realise that it’s not easy for your parents to watch their little munchkin leave the nest, so you might even squeeze out a tear or two to make sure Mum knows you’ll miss her. But on the inside, you’re jumping for joy at the thought of your upcoming campus life: new friends, societies, parties and, most importantly, FREEDOM! Oh, yeah, and a good education, of course. We’re sure you’ve got a lot on your mind, so we thought we’d do you a solid and give you a few pointers on navigating uni as a vegan:
- Before you leave for uni, learn to cook. Learn to cook?! We’re not saying you need to become a gourmet chef. Just learn to make a few quick and easy dishes so you don’t have to rely solely on the canteen or takeaway for all your meals. You don’t have to take classes. Learning to cook can be as easy as picking up a good cookbook. We recommend PETA’s Vegan College Cookbook.
- Contact your uni canteen. Vegans gotta eat, too! So don’t hesitate to contact your uni’s canteen supervisor and ask if they currently have any meal options for vegans. If they don’t, ask them if they can start making some. It might even be useful to give them some suggestions, such as vegetable and houmous wraps, quinoa salads or vegetable curries and rice. Just remember to be polite. You don’t want to piss off the people cooking your food.
- Join a vegan/vegetarian or an animal rights club or society. Joining a vegan/vegetarian or an animal rights club or society is a great way to meet fellow “vegheads” and animal rights enthusiasts. And as a bonus, most of them host potlucks – a great way to show off your newfound culinary skills while filling up on other people’s dishes. Don’t have a vegan/vegetarian or an animal rights club or society at your uni? Then start one! What a great way to leave your mark on your school. Plus, it’s usually fairly easy to start a new society or club – just contact your student union for details.
- Learn to shop on a budget. Ahhhhh! Budgeting! Don’t let that word scare you – it’s really not that difficult. Look for offers at your local grocery store. Plan your meals ahead of time – weekly if you can – then make a grocery list and stick to it. The UK has some of the best markets in the world! Take advantage of them. If you go towards the close of the market, you can usually get some really good deals, as the farmers are typically eager to get rid of the last of their produce. Check out our “Vegan on a Budget: Recipes From a Girl Called Jack” blog post.
- Shop online. Doesn’t your grocer know that savoury yeast flakes make everything taste better? Can’t find your niche vegan staples at the local market? Then order them online. You’d be surprised at what you can find on Amazon.co.uk, and Ocado.com has a whole vegan section.
- Eat breakfast. Not just because it’s the most important meal of the day but because it’s kinda hard to focus on what your lecturer is saying when your stomach’s grumbling. So even if it’s just a bagel with peanut butter and banana slices, put something in your tummy in the morning that can hold you over ’til your next meal.
- Pack snacks. We can’t stress the importance of this tip enough. But we probably don’t have to because it’s highly likely that you’ve already been caught out in the wilderness of the concrete jungle, famished, without a crumb of vegan nourishment in sight. We know it sounds dramatic, but isn’t that how you feel when you’re busy and hungry with no vegan food at arm’s reach? Don’t fall into this trap again. An apple, some almonds, a nutritional bar … it doesn’t matter what. Just always remember to throw a snack in your bag or pocket before you leave home.
- Download the HappyCow app. If you haven’t already, download this magical app. Yes, magical. It’s like GPS for vegan food. Seriously, open the app, and it will show you a list of vegan-friendly restaurants and food stores in your vicinity.
- Going out? Plan ahead. Going out with non-vegan friends from uni? Well, unfortunately, not all restaurateurs or pubs carry vegan options (or even know what “vegan” means, for that matter), but with a little research, you’ll find that there are loads of pubs, restaurants and fast-food chains in the UK that serve vegan dishes. Check out our “On the Menu – Vegan Options at Chain Restaurants” blog post.
Got any tips to add to this list? Add ’em in the comments.