HOW TO BE A HEALTHY PLANT-BASED UNIVERSITY STUDENT: PART 2

Tips to meal prep successfully for plant-based student:

Meal prepping is a massive time saver that I highly recommend for any students, especially during exams and mid-terms, as a way to ensure that you are getting enough nutrients to support your cognitive function and immune system that are fundamental to your optimal performance during these stressful times. For me, meal prepping does not mean cooking every meal for the week on Sunday night. Early-on, I got into the habit of making sure that I always have one cooked grain in the fridge (rice/quinoa) and chopped green for quick salads and power bowls.

I also always try to keep cut carrot and celery sticks in containers full of water to maintain crispness, easily accessible fruits and nuts/seeds are also great snacks to keep on hand. When I do make a full meal, I always make enough for at least one or two extra servings that I can grab in a rush later that week or I can easily reheat after a long day.  Overnight oats and chia seed puddings are also two great options for breakfast on the go!

I also came to love my Crock-Pot when I was in university because they are a great way to minimize cooking times at the end of the day, especially when I had long days of class and then social gatherings or volunteering events in the evening.  Crock-Pots allowed me to come home to a warm meal, and avoid having to spend money on often less nutritious takeout options.  With a variety of settings and functions, instant pots can be used for a wide range of plant-based recipes, some of my favourites include: soups, risotto, chowder, beans (buying dried in bulk is a huge $$$ saver), steamed veggies, yogurt, curries and lentil sloppy joes!!

Keeping healthy plant-based social experiences in university:

There are definitely some unique difficulties associated with being a plant-based student. I have faced a lot of housing issues when sharing kitchen tools with roommates, who aren’t very cognizant of cleaning up after themselves, leaving lots of animal product residues in your tools. In these situations, I have set ground rules and voiced my concerns with my roommates and moved some of my kitchen tools to my room, when necessary. Attending social gatherings, like birthday and Super Bowl parties with lots of food, can also create some anxieties for plant-based students. For these situations, I learned to either eat before attending an event, offer to bring a dish that you know you will be able to eat, or bring a protein bar in case you get hungry and there are no options for you.

Lots of social events can be framed around food and it can be difficult to navigate, especially when you don’t want to be the center of attention, which is the case for myself. If you are going out to eat with friends, check the menu beforehand to know what you can eat, and if there are really no options, don’t feel bad about suggesting another place, most of the time it will be no big deal to change venues as non-vegans can eat pretty much anywhere.  Getting food after a night out is another similar difficulty you may face, I came to know places that I could eat at late-night, or I just made a snack when I got home. Moving past these difficulties can be easier when you take a step back from the situation and remember why you started your plant-based journey, for a lot of people there are moral motivators that are rooted in personal values. Another thing that really helped me was having an ‘ally’ in my group of friends, someone who isn’t necessarily vegan but is aware of your dietary needs and can support you without drawing attention to you. For example, if your friends wanted to go for dinner at a restaurant offering no vegan options and you suggest a different location, my ally usually chimes in and says ‘oh yeah, I love that restaurant let’s go there,’ or if you’re going to a potluck, my ally will make sure that her dish is also vegan so that there will be more than one option for me. I also looked for support outside my immediate friend group by pursuing clubs on campus, especially when starting at a new school and in a new city – both vegan and environmental groups have been a wonderful place to meet people in my experience.

I also was extremely lucky to have the opportunity to work at a vegan café during my Master’s degree, which brought so many wonderful people into my life and was one of my favourite jobs I ever had. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people on social media as well, is another tactic to feel supported in your plant-based journey. At the end of the day, remember not to be too hard on yourself, the world is still adapting and plant-based options can be limited, especially on campuses, but our revolution is gaining support quickly and you should feel proud that you are a part of it.

 

Breakfast Ideas

It really is amazing how many different ways you can replace an egg in any recipe, even scrambled eggs!  The scramble tofu is the ultimate replacement.   The simple seasonings I use are ones I’m sure you have in your kitchen and I love adding onions and any chopped-up veggies I have hanging around my refrigerator.  I recommend using pressed extra-firm tofu for the best results.   Serve it straight up, or on toast, bagel, in a breakfast wrap or top it on bed of greens.  There really are no hard and fast rules so have fun!

 

The ingredients are lectin free and each has great health benefits.  It stores well in an airtight container and you can freeze it too!  Dress it up in a pretty jar and it makes the perfect hostess gift.  I love it on yogurt, fruit and smoothies or just on its own. It’s really that good and good for you.  Enjoy

 

 

 

 

It’s a great way to kick off your day as there are so many fruits and veggies that can go into the making of a delicious, nutritional smoothie bowl.  The trick is to find the right balance of ingredients so it doesn’t disturb the end result … the flavour experience.   Use whatever toppings you have in your refrigerator or cupboard to put the final touch on your smoothie bowl masterpiece.

 

 

 

Desk Snack Ideas

There is nothing that makes my growling tummy happier than these energy packed bites of goodness and deliciousness. They are so easy to make.   No need to turn your oven on or take out your food processor, which makes them ideal for anyone to whip up.   Just roll and refrigerate or freeze.  It’s one of my favourite “make now and eat later” recipes!  I highly suggest giving them a try, but I must warn you they are addictive.

 

 

 

 

I love Lara Bars, but they can be costly if you eat as many as I do!  With this in mind, selected all my favourite ingredients and put together my own version of this yummy healthy bar.  It really does make the perfect mid-morning snack or anytime snack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are so many benefits of eating kale that I would have to call it the “Golden Green”.  It really is one of the healthiest plants; no wonder bunnies love it so much!  Contains good fibre, antioxidants and is also a good source of calcium and vitamins C and K.  Many of us have tried kale in different ways, but it can be challenging to embrace this fibrous leafy green plant.  This quick and easy chip is a great way to get the benefits of kale while enjoying a tasty snack.  Kale chips can be naturally flavoured many ways and easily added to a lunch or just carried with you in a zip lock bag or container to enjoy during the day.

 

 

Why can’t a snack be a comfort food like potatoes?  Smokey potato wedges are so easy to whip up go perfectly with any dip or ketchup and bake up in 30 minutes!  Now that is a healthysnack that will fill that hunger pain quickly.

 

 

 

 

Lunch Ideas

Canned tuna made a regular appearance in my lunch and I loved it, but when I made the transition to a vegan lifestyle I had to part company with my tuna salad sandwiches.  This chickpea “tuna” salad is very close to the real thing.  Add the kelp powder for a “fish” flavour and bonus iodine to your diet!  Load your sandwich up with tomato slices and any leafy greens you like.  You won’t miss the tuna, I promise.  It’s delicious on crackers as well!!

 

 

 

Just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a BLT sandwich. Organic Tempeh is so easy to make vegan “bacun” from as it readily absorbs any flavours you choose to marinate it in. It’s a easy way to add in some protein and it’s a great source of iron too. I’ve served this to many friends and family members that are not vegan and they loved it!!   Cut tempeh into strips. Steam sliced tempeh pieces for 10 minutes to remove all bitter taste from the tempeh.

 

 

 

 

When I made the transition to vegan I no longer indulged in the salad as the recipe for the dressing calls for an egg and parmesan cheese.  I am so excited I finally created a very similar Caesar Salad Dressing that even my family can’t tell the difference.  I hope you try this out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade soups are so easy to make and give you the immune system boost we all need to stay healthy in mind and body especially when our days can be filled with stress and anxiety.  When made right, they are a great remedy for cold and flu.  These 4 soup recipes are loaded with goodness you can count!

Click on soup name for recipe link:

Romano Bean Soup     Creamy Lentil Soup

“Chicken” Noodle Soup    Split Pea Soup

 

Dinner Ideas

If you have ever cooked authentic Italian risotto, you know it’s a labour of love …. standing over the pot stirring constantly as you wait for your rice to cook.  It can be exhausting.  What if I told you, you can have the same yummy results using the Instant Pot?  Trust me….you will never go back to the old-fashioned way of making risotto again!  Not only is it easy but this recipe is vegan too and Nonna will never taste the difference!

 

 

 

 

“You eat with your eyes first” is the expression that comes to mind at the mention of Primavera Fusilli.  The sight of this colourful and aromatic dish well prepares the taste buds for a flavourful experience.  The balance of the herbs, lemon and the slight hints of the salty capers has you appreciating each mouthful.  I love spiralizing the zucchini as it gives a whimsical appearance and another dimension of texture.  This truly is a pasta wonderland!

 

 

 

 

There are some dishes that I have affectionately called “make it now and eat it later” and the Super Easy Lentil Stew definitely falls under that category.  It is so quick and easy to put together, especially when using the instant pot option and it’s made in one pot.  That’s right, there is hardly any clean up at all!  It freezes well and will be there waiting for you when you need it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This stew is chunky, nourishing and filling!  I added oyster mushrooms for a delicious meatiness and jackfruit for a more full-bodied stew.  Wow, what a success and the flavour …… you just have to make it yourself.  Hard to believe it’s plant-based and gluten-free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Treat Ideas

These 4 treats will cure that chocolate craving we all get from time to time.  Easy to make and 3 of the treats are bake free!

Click the link below for the full easy recipe:

Brownie Bites

Itty Bitty Brownie Cups

Chocolate Chip Squares

Chocolate Brown Rice Crisps Squares

 

 

For more easy vegan/gluten-free recipes visit

Carlasnoplacelikehome.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *