Like many vegans, I am often asked what I eat. The answer: a lot.
Vegans only eat foods that come from plants. I don’t eat any animal or animal-derived products: no meat, dairy or eggs.
Despite being a college student on a budget, and having limited dorm kitchen supplies, I rarely have trouble figuring out what to eat. You do not have to buy special food to stay healthy as a vegan. Here are some tips I use to maintain my diet. You can find this complete story on our College Town site.
Know your staples
Having a few versatile ingredients can help you turn a limited pantry into a feast.
Grains can make any meal hardy. Rice and beans are an ultimate combination that is both cheap and simple. A stir fry rice is easy to make with any available vegetables. Mixing peanut butter, hot water and a dab of maple syrup can make simple homemade thai peanut sauce I enjoy having with fried rice. Stuffing tomatoes, bell peppers or zucchini with rice, couscous or bulgur creates many different satisfying meals, too.
Pasta dishes do not need cheese to feel comforting. You can add chopped mushrooms or eggplant to a basic tomato sauce if you want to get fancy. For Alfredo pasta fans, blended cauliflower, avocado, or tahini can build the base of a creamy sauce. For an Asian dish, make or buy a teriyaki sauce, peanut sauce or ginger soy sauce to flavor many pasta or dinner recipes.
Know your substitutes
It’s sometimes hard to find vegan recipes. Instead, make non-vegan recipes vegan-friendly with some easy substitutes.
Instead of dairy milk, use almond, soy, coconut or rice milk.
Instead of butter, mash bananas or avocado. I like to use banana when making something sweet and avocado when making something savory. I’ve found that a little less than one banana is equal to one stick of butter.
Instead of cream cheese, top bagels with hummus. Instead of ricotta or mozzarella, use tofu. Instead of Parmesan cheese, use nutritional yeast.
Know your restaurants
Not all restaurants will cater to vegan needs. Knowing which places will carry vegan food or accommodate dietary restrictions helps when planning an outing with friends.
When dining at a Mexican restaurant, there are many bean or veggie dishes available. Mediterranean cuisine is chock full of vegan choices: falafel, hummus, grape stuffed leaves, tabouli, pita and eggplant. Many Asian restaurants carry General Tso’s tofu or a garlic vegetable dish. Many burger places are starting to carry veggie burgers to accommodate their non-meat eating audience.
Read Amanda Reza’s entire story at College Town.
Also on College Town, read Iman Usmani’s story on surviving as a vegetarian at N.C. State University.