How to survive as a vegetarian in college

How to survive as a vegetarian in college

Trying to eat vegetarian at N.C. State? It's easier than you think with these tips and tricks from contributor Iman Usmani.

Above, a vegetarian noodle dish from a pop-up kitchen outside the Talley Student Center in 2016. Photo by Robert Willett for the News & Observer.

Being a vegetarian in college is pretty tricky to do — especially considering it’s hard to even be healthy at college. At N.C. State, vegetarian foods are marked in the dining hall. That makes it a little easier to keep track of what’s safe to eat. Beyond that, here are a couple things you can do to make your meals tasty — and follow your dietary guidelines.

Check the dining hall websites.

Fountain and Clark post their menus online each day, with guidelines for vegetarians, vegans and people with food allergies. You can see Fountain’s menu here and Clark’s menu here. Check the menus before you head out to see what vegetarian offerings are on tap for that day.

Check out the salad bar.

It seems obvious, but it’s worth saying. The salad bars at N.C. State are the go-to place to find a vegetarian option. You can build your own, which makes it easier for you to choose a meal you want to eat while also avoiding the foods that have meat cooked into them.

Find the gluten-free/dietary needs fridges.

Fountain and Clark both have a fridge with specific items for people with dietary needs. This means that there is yogurt, cereal, milks and other things that are safe for vegetarians — and vegans.

Cook in your dorm’s kitchen.

There are grocery stores near campus, which makes it easy to get food and cook it for yourself. Meal prep is another great option: You can make the food in the beginning of the week and just grab it periodically. Also, don’t forget to grab fruit from the dining halls after each visit. They make great snacks to grab on your way to class.

Being a vegetarian on campus can be tough, but it’s still doable as long as you know the little tricks to getting food for your special dietary needs.

Iman Usmani
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