World Vegan Month – How to Thrive on a Wholesome Plant Based Diet at University

Going away to University is a great time to experiment with food and your diet. You’re away from home and have a lot more freedom when it comes to making decisions about your diet.

The month of November welcomes World Vegan Month and this lifestyle movement is growing in popularity. A report carried out on behalf of the Vegan Society revealed that in the UK, more than half-a-million people over the age of 15 identify as Vegan, which is more than double the amount of Vegans in 2006, when the survey was first completed.

Students the world over have suffered a bad reputation for their inability to cook and eat a balanced and varied diet, so just how does this work when it comes to Veganism as a student? Does it really just mean a diet of beans on toast or is there more to it than that?

Veganism is no longer seen as extreme

A vegan diet excludes all animal based food products, including meat, seafood and dairy, as well as food items such as honey and some beers, wines and ciders.

Whilst a vegan diet was once seen as being extreme, it’s becoming more and more accessible with many supermarkets now stocking their own vegan offerings, at prices to suit even the smallest student budgets. As with any diet, special care needs to be taken to make sure you are getting your full quota of vitamins and nutrients.

We’ve spoken to the experts over at Vitabiotics and they have told us about some of the things you may need to think about to ensure you’re getting all of the vitamins and nutrients you need to excel both inside and out of the lecture hall.

The Vitabiotics Guide to being a Vegan at University

Educate yourself about Nutrition

Empowering yourself with information about nutrition is half the battle when it comes to getting the most out of your plant based diet at University.

Read blogs written by other vegans on a regular basis, and utilise social media for up to the minute trends, ideas and recipes.

Top Tip: Set up your own blog to write your thoughts, ideas and tips on being a vegan student. This could really help with networking and gathering opinions and suggestions from vegans all over the world who have discovered your blog.

Be smart with your supplements

Learn more about the benefits of supplementing your diet with extra vitamins and minerals. It may be that a Vitamin B supplement could really contribute to a varied vegan diet. As B Vitamins are so important, we’ve listed some of the many great benefits to this vitamin below:

B Vitamins such as:

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

Contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism

This means you’ll be sharp and ready for those 9am lectures

Contributes to the normal metabolism of iron

You’ll be able to make the most of the iron rich foods you eat as part of your varied vegan diet

Contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue

You’ll be better prepared for any late night deadlines at the end of the semester

Vitamin B6 + B12

Contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism

You’ll be less likely to nod off in those long statistics lectures

Contributes to normal psychological function

You’ll be able to think-fast when your tutor picks on you to answer a question

Top Tip: Visit your GP or Pharmacist for more information about getting the right vitamins and minerals to supplement your vegan diet.

Get Creative in the Kitchen

From reading vegan cookery blogs to swapping recipes with fellow vegan students, you’ll be sure to have an arsenal of various vegan recipes at your fingertips, all delicious of course!

From rustling up a stir-fry with protein rich Seitan (say-tahn), to enjoying a hot bubbling slice of cheese on toast using one of the many brands of vegan cheese, there will be no shortage of opportunities for you to flex your culinary muscles.

Top Tip: The recommended adult intake for Vitamin B12 is 1.5 micrograms each day – ensure the dishes you plan to cook contain foods rich in this essential vitamin, such as soya milk, plant based cooking fats and mushrooms.

Carry snacks with you at all times

There’s nothing worse than being hungry when you’re out and about on campus, especially when there’s no option to grab a suitable snack to fill your rumbling tummy. Keep a stash of vegan granola, dried fruits or mixed nuts in your book bag to keep your body fueled throughout those long library based days.

Top Tip: If you’re after a really sweet treat, pick up a pack of Medjool dates from the supermarket. Rich in Vitamin B6 and dietary fibre, these little packs of energy will be a sweet treat to keep you going throughout the day.

Build your vegan network

University is a great place to network with other students with similar interests, and this goes without saying for the numerous vegan societies in campuses up and down the entire UK. You’ll be able to bounce ideas off other vegans, swap recipes and even enjoy cooking together and going out for meals without any awkwardness.  

Top Tip: Each February the Animal Aid Charity run their ‘Vegan University Challenge’ campaign which is specifically for students looking to investigate a vegan and plant based lifestyle. This is a great community and a space for vegan students all over the UK to communicate and enjoy each other’s company.

This information is for guidance only and must not substitute professional, medical advice. If you are concerned, consult your pharmacist or GP.