How to stick to your vegan diet on a student budget
Students are six times more likely than their parents to be vegan. Source: Yulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock

Once considered a fringe movement, veganism is now mainstream with vegan-friendly restaurants and cafés popping up worldwide. The lifestyle seems to be experiencing an unstoppable rise as people wise up to its benefits on health, the climate and of course, animal welfare.

And students are no different. In fact, they’re now six times more likely than their parents to avoid meat. As climate change becomes an increasingly clear and present danger to our planet, this generation is taking sustainability seriously – and it starts with food.

Around half (47 percent) of those who go vegan point to the environmental impact of meat production as a swaying factor.

Universities are wising up to this trend and are becoming increasingly vegan-friendly.

Pretty much all student unions now offer vegan options in their cafés. And make sure you scope out your university’s vegan or veggie society. Most universities will have one, and like-minded people come here to meet, exchange recipes and ideas. They can be a great place to learn the ropes if you’re just starting out.

Getting started can be the hardest part once you decide to make the change. Figuring out how to replace the staple chicken breast or cheese topping can be tough. To give you a head start, The Guardian asked budget chef Jack Monroe for some handy tips to keep your fridge vegan-tastic while you study…

  • If you love your butter (and who doesn’t) there’s an easy fix to get a worthy replacement. Just exchange it for a mild oil such as sunflower or vegetable, and add a little pinch of salt to taste.
  • Beans, pulses and lentils will be your new best friend. Good news is they’re hearty and nutritious while also being far cheaper than any meat, so you’ll save yourself some pennies in the long run too.
  • If you’re missing chicken in a hearty soup or casserole, give butter beans a try.
  • Soups can also be helped with packing them full of chickpeas and lentils, add some veggies too. And if you’re after a more substantial meal, throw in some cut up veggie sausages. This will fill you up in no time.
  • When it comes to chilli con carne or curry, kidney beans or black beans make a decent substitute. Cook them for a long time on a low heat and they’ll be melt-in-your-mouth delicious when it comes to serving.
  • It’s always worth keeping a handy stash of onions and carrots in your fridge. You’ll find these go in everything, and the good news is, they’re super cheap.

With these handy tips, you should be well within your budget – if not saving cash – and you’ll realise just how easy and satisfying vegan cooking can be!

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