More and more students are becoming vegetarian and vegan – especially in comparison to previous generations. Perhaps you’ve moved away from home and can finally have more control over your diet, or you’ve moved into a flat with other vegans and want to give it a try?
According to research by Magnet, students are six times more likely to be vegan or vegetarian compared to their parents. Annual events like Veganuary are making these diets more popular, and young people in general are becoming more conscious of their environmental footprint.
However, if you’ve never tried it before, going vegan isn’t always easy. There are lots of health considerations to take into account and, as a student, you may not always have a big budget to spend.
In this blog post, you’ll find top tips for eating a balanced vegan diet on a student budget. Discover items you should stock up on, freezer favourites and ways you can make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.
If you’re giving up meat and/or dairy, you need to make sure that you’re still getting all the essentials you need for a healthy, balanced diet.
Protein is one thing that you need to replace if you’re no longer eating meat. Thankfully, there are lots of plant-based options. These days, there are numerous brands offering ‘fake’ meat alternatives, meaning you can still enjoy bacon, sausages and chicken. Some of these can be quite expensive, though, so you may want to consider other options. Alternatively, there are other protein-rich foods you can incorporate into your meals. Tofu, chickpeas and nuts are all great sources of protein too.
B12 helps keep your body’s blood and nerve cells healthy, but it’s difficult to consume enough if you’re not eating meat and dairy products. We recommend buying supplements, which you can get from some supermarkets or shops like Holland & Barrett for an affordable price.
Where to Shop
In most student areas, you should have a range of supermarkets to choose from. If you’re on a student budget, Aldi is a great option. You can pick up fruit, vegetables and cupboard essentials at a low cost. Not only that, they have a vegan range of products that is much more affordable than other supermarkets. For example, you can get vegan pizzas and confectionery at a fraction of the price of expensive branded products.
Why not consider shopping at your local market, too? You can pick up amazing deals from local traders and support the local economy at the same time.
In addition to the above, there are also vegan online retailers. These can be expensive, but you may be able to find discounts and offers on their social media pages to cut back on spending.
To save money, buy cupboard staples in bulk at the start of term. You’ll get more for your cash, and they can last for months and months. Great vegan cupboard staples include:
- Tinned vegetables
They’re incredibly versatile, and can be used in a big range of dishes. With these essentials, you’ll be able to rustle something up in no time, even when your cupboards are feeling a little bare.
Although some branded ‘fake’ meat alternatives can be expensive, there are some good deals around if you hunt for them. For example, you can buy Quorn products for relatively cheap in shops like Aldi.
Iceland is another shop that stocks a decent range of meat alternatives, often for cheaper than more established brands like Linda McCartney. They have vegan mince, chicken chunks and much more to choose from. Stock up your freezer early on and you’ll be set for weeks.
No matter your diet, meal prep is a great way to save money as a student. If you prepare lots of meals in a big batch in advance, you can freeze them and save them for later. This is often much cheaper than having to buy ingredients for multiple meals. It also saves you time, as you only have to cook once and then you’re set for the next couple of days.
For example, you could make a vegan spaghetti bolognese, chilli sin carne or curry. Then, buy some cheap Tupperware and add one portion to each box to go in the freezer.
Want to join a community of fellow vegans, find new recipe ideas and learn more about vegan diets? Your university will most likely have a vegan society, where you can meet like-minded individuals. If not, why not set one up? They’re a great way to meet new friends and get inspiration for your meal prep.
We hope you find these top tips for eating a balanced vegan diet on a student budget helpful. Want more recipe ideas? Check out these easy vegan meals for students for World Vegan Day.