College Campus Vegan Survival Guide

During the fall of 2011, GradGuard’s Director of Customer Experience made the trek from Phoenix to Colorado State University for her freshman year of college. Upon crossing the state line, she decided to slowly adopt a vegan lifestyle.

Like most college students, she embraced the opportunity to express her newfound individuality and values. She had her own fridge, a small student budget, and a newfound desire for sustainability. Little did she know that her creative tricks to ‘veganize’ comfort food would one day land a selfie of her and her grandma in The Wall Street Journal.

The other day, while she was munching on carrots and vegan ranch, we asked her what advice she would give to incoming vegan freshmen on a budget. We expected a simple response and instead received the following detailed guide. Whether you’re vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, or just plain healthy; check out this guide and true tricks for cooking on college campuses.

College Campus Vegan Survival Guide

Surviving In the Dorm Room

Living on campus can be daunting without a kitchen, especially if you’re a foodie. Learning how to cook creatively in the dorm can feel a lot like being a contestant on Chopped. These items made cooking in the dorms not only fun and challenging but healthy!

The Basics The Extras
Mini-fridge
-Microwave
-Electric kettle*
-Utensils Slow-cooker*
-Rice maker*
-Glass containers
-16oz mason jars
-Cutting board with knife*  
-An herb garden
-A fungi-growing kit
-Sprouting jar and lids
-Cheesecloth
-Espresso maker*
-Cold-brew coffee maker
-A homemade kombucha kit  

*Please make sure to check with your residence hall’s rules and regulations regarding these items

Mini-Fridge Staples Shelf-Stable Staples
-Crudités
-Vegan ranch or mayo
-Hummus
-Seasonal fruits
-Frozen burritos
-Frozen vegetables in steam bags
-Beans
-Nuts and nut butters
-Plant-based milk
-Soup
-PastaSauce
-Microwavable rice and pasta

Surviving In the Dining Halls

Over 70% of college campuses are now providing vegan options in the dining halls. Most schools post a weekly menu for each dining hall complete with nutritional information. If you can’t easily find one online, reach out to your university. If your particular college is more vegetarian-friendly, it helps to sneak in your own cheese or condiments.

If you’re on a limited meal plan, it is easiest to skip the bacon and egg-laden breakfast most schools provide and stick to a quick protein bar or shake. Make sure to plan out your meals for the week if you have a limited number of dining hall passes. This way, you can create a short grocery list for the meals you know you’ll need to make.

Overall, being vegan on campus will take a lot of trial and error until you standardize your weekly routine. GradGuard is always here to help you with tips on wellness and college hacks. Here are a few vegan food bloggers’ guides that made being vegan in college look like a breeze:

Emilie Eats’ College Vegan Guide
Graduate of Louisiana State University & Current Colorado State Grad Student

Jordan Waddel’s Easy Packed Cold Lunches for Work or School
Current Nursing student

From My Bowl’s Easy 3-Ingredient After School Snacks
Graduate of the University of Pittsburg

Bon appétit!