6 Tips for Being a Healthy and Happy Vegetarian

By Keating Simmons, Dietetic Intern, Sargent Choice Nutrition Center

Being a vegetarian on campus can be hard; always asking how things are made, never knowing what will be served, and getting enough to eat to get through the day, all challenges that make you just want to eat a burger already!  These tips and guidelines can help you navigate the dining halls and retail locations and can help you create a satisfying balanced meal at home.

1)      BU is already veggie friendly! All grains and vegetables are cooked using vegetable broth and BU offers vegan cheeses, spreads, and pizzas.  Half the battle is having options available to you to eat, so it is nice that BU is already doing this.  Look out for Vegetarian and Vegan signs for more options around the dining hall.

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2)      It’s ok to cheat! Take a look and see what the dining halls or GSU are serving each day by going online to http://www.bu.edu/dining/index.shtml.  Most residence dining halls and retail locations have their menus available online and all residence hall menus show which options are vegetarian (VT), vegan (VN), or are Sargent Choice.  This way you will always be prepared and helps plan out your meals for the day.

3)      Just Ask! The managers and foodservice staff are here to help, if you aren’t sure how something is prepared ask to speak to a manager.  If the person in front of you ordered a hamburger ask for a different spot on the grill for your veggie burger.  Simple questions and requests make a big difference in terms of enjoying your food.

4)      Go Shopping! Check out your local grocery store for easy vegetarian snacks and meals for your room.  Nuts are a great way to get protein and are easy to throw in your bag for a snack.  Check out all the different types of beans for an easy lunch or dinner option.  Just wash and drain and throw them into a salad or whole wheat veggie pasta dish.

5)      Don’t be afraid to improvise! If you just found a great new recipe but it isn’t vegetarian, don’t worry, just make some simple substitutions to make it work for you.  If the recipe calls for chicken use tofu instead.  Eggplant can replace the meaty texture of beef, and beans go great in any stew or soup dish.

6)      Take the plunge! Thinking of becoming a vegetarian or just want to test it out for a week?  Use the tips from above to figure out what to eat on and off campus, start paying attention to non-meat options offered like eggs, nuts, tofu, and tempeh.  Not only will you be discovering new food but you will also be reducing your carbon footprint.  Check out http://www.eatlowcarbon.org/# to compare the carbon impacts of your food choices.

What are your tips for being a vegetarian?

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