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The Survival Guide for Vegan Students

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Let's be real about it: being a student – especially a fresher – can be pretty tough.

You've moved from the comforts of your home to halls of residence full of strangers, who may have questionable hygiene standards.

Vegan dinner

You're also studying at a higher and more independent level, with no one in your corner to make sure that you revise or even attend lectures. So figuring out how to budget for the necessities – bills, books and booze – can be quite daunting. But vegan eating doesn't have to be one of those challenges.

Here are my tried-and-tested tips for surviving uni as a vegan:

Learn to cook. Learn to cook? I'm 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.

I recommend PETA's Vegan College Cookbook.

Veganise your uni canteen. Vegans need to eat, too! As a student, your dining facility should accommodate your dietary needs. If your cafeteria isn't vegan-friendly, veganise it.

Check out "Veganise Your School Canteen in 5 Easy Steps".

Join a veggie group or an animal rights club or society. This 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 veggie or animal rights club at your uni? Then start one!

Check out "5 Easy Steps for Starting an Animal Rights Society".

Learn to shop on a budget. Ahhhhh[AB3] ! 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. If you plan your shopping well enough, you can even make delicious vegan meals for under a quid.

Check out "13 Vegan Meals for Under a Pound".

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. Do so not just because it's the most important meal of the day but because it can be hard to focus on what your tutor 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 tide you over until 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 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 within arm's reach? Don't fall into this trap again. Just always remember to pack a snack – an apple, some almonds, a nutritional bar – in your bag or pocket before you leave home.

Going out? Plan ahead. Going out with non-vegan friends from uni? Well, unfortunately, not all restaurants or pubs carry vegan options, 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 "On the Menu – Vegan Options at Chain Restaurants".

Download the HappyCow app. If you haven't already, download this magical app. Yes, magical. It's like a 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.

There you have it: my tried-and-tested tips for navigating uni as a vegan. Did I miss anything? Do you have any other tips or recommendations that you'd like to share? If so, drop me a line in the comments.




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