Vegan on a college budget: Twenty-five percent of U.S. college students desire vegan options!


Veganism has increased to 2.5 percent of the population in the United States from just 1 percent in 2009.(1)  Grocery stores are filled with vegan alternatives and most restaurants feature a vegan dish or two.

The popularity of health food and juice fasts has propelled people that never considered the vegan lifestyle to go vegan.  More and more studies are being published showing not only the ethical benefits of a plant-based diet but also the health benefits.(2)

In the U.K. 18 percent of this years college students are considering going vegan!

In the U.K., 18 percent of this year’s intake of college students were contemplating going vegan.(2)  In the U.S., a 2004 survey found that 25 percent of college students desired to have vegan options.(3)  Most likely, this number has increased with the increase in veganism.

A 2004 survey reports that 25 percent of college students in the U.S. stated it was important to them to have vegan food options!

How do students eat vegan on a budget?  Let your dining hall know your food restrictions in order to get the most out of your meal plan.  Stock up on veggies at the salad bar to store in your fridge.  Most dorms allow microwaves and refrigerators in rooms.  Some universities will allow other kitchen appliances such as crockpots.(2)

Setting your space up in a functional way to prepare your own nutritious meal can be helpful.  Most vegetables can be steamed in the microwave and with so many ready made vegan options in the freezer sections of local groceries, preparing a quick vegan meal can even be done in a dorm room. (2)

Be creative with dorm living, using microwaves, crockpots and even a Vitamix in order to supplement cafeteria meals on a budget!

If you have family members who are looking to buy you a gift for high school graduation, birthday’s, Christmas or going away, consider asking them to pool your money to purchase a Vitamix.  These high speed blenders are perfect for making smoothies, shakes, and even soup in just a few short minutes.

Transitioning to the vegan lifestyle in college may be the perfect time and place,  as most students are more comfortable with accepting differences and most students find interest in other’s passions.  This allows for students to gain more support and less judgment and grow in confidence of their new lifestyle. (2)

This holiday season, if you are parents eagerly awaiting the return of your college student only to find out that they won’t touch your holiday meat, embrace their passion and differences and continue to encourage them on their journey.  If you are a college student, eager to sleep in your bed and enjoy the comforts of home, don’t be ashamed or fearful to tell your parents and other family members about your dietary choices.  Show them how easy being vegan is, and encourage them to try new vegan options.

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Lynn Griffith
Lynn is a licensed therapist who enjoys cooking, creativity and enjoys helping other's learn how to care for their minds and bodies through healthy eating.  Lynn has wrote for The Raw Food World News and is currently in the process of building her own website focused on managing mental health through nutrition and wellness.