It seems like a lot of younger vegans make their transitions during their college years, which is great, because they’re generally on their own and can make their own food decisions. However, it’s not usually a time in life that’s full of gourmet cooking and healthy meals.
Eating healthy isn’t impossible, but it can be difficult without the right tools – and especially so if you live in a dorm room! A lot of schools are slim on healthy options, and some don’t really even offer vegan food, leaving you to fend for yourself unless you feel like eating a whole plate full of broccoli. Keep reading for some helpful tips and tricks for maintaining a healthy, plant-based diet while living on campus! Comment below and let me know what you’re doing (or did!) to eat healthy in college.
Top Tools for Easy Dorm-Friendly Vegan Cooking
Most dorms, if not all, allow you to have a small microwave in your room. While a microwave can be more limiting than an oven, you can still cook a ton of stuff in them. For instance, you can get cans of beans, chick peas, or veggies and microwave them (not in the cans, of course!). If you buy a microwave steamer, you can cook pasta, rice, and fresh or frozen veggies in there as well. They can also be handy for reheating leftovers so you don’t have to cook every single day. Microwaves are a great tool that will be extremely useful in most situations; it’s probably the most important tool to have.
Electric Hot Pot/Kettle
Hot pots are also generally allowed in dorm rooms. They can be very handy for boiling water, which can be good if you want to cook pasta, instant rice, or even some veggies. You can also use it sort of like a slow cooker (which some schools don’t allow) and cook some vegan soup in them. The possibilities are endless! If you can cook it in a pot, the hot pot is your best stove-free alternative.
This one may seem a little strange, but if you’re using fresh veggies rather than frozen or packaged veggies, chopping things with scissors is a ton easier and requires a lot less cleanup. Want a salad? Don’t bother getting out a cutting board and a knife (if you have them), and slicing everything that way; just cut them up with the scissors directly over the bowl/plate you’re using. This saves a ton of time and effort, especially if you’re doing a lot of chopping at a time (like for a salad). Have you ever tried this at home?
If you live in an area where it’s hard to get to a grocery store, or your local grocery store doesn’t have a great selection, using canned items can be a lifesaver, as they keep for a lot longer and are easy to store. If you don’t have a lot of refrigerator space – which is a common problem in dorm situations – this can also be very helpful. A good can opener ensures you won’t struggle to open cans, so make sure you get one that works well for you.
Vegans, Embrace Your Dorm Room Cooking !
That’s it! Keep some basic spices with you and you can create lots of meals with these tools! Try out your own Kaleidoscope Rice Bowl, or Minute-Stone Soup. And don’t be afraid to try our other great recipes as well! And as an added bonus, you’ll most definitely fend off the Freshman 15 with these healthy, dorm-cooked options. Let us know what you’re cooking in your dorm room!
*Photos courtesy of Al Reid (alreidphotography.com)