Despite contrary belief, it is possible to be a vegetarian (or even a vegan!) at IMSA; it just requires a certain level of finesse. According to resident vegan Ellyonna Glenn (’18), the key to success comes in four steps:
- Fiber – Get your fiber through oatmeal and other carbs! If Sodexo is lacking, it might be a good idea to invest in a protein powder or supplements. You should be getting approximately 15 grams of fiber a day( here’s a calculator), so look for berries (smoothies!!!), beans, and quinoa. Sodexo will usually have at least one of these options, but otherwise these things are all easily accessed at Woodman’s and can be prepared in your hall.
- Protein – Beans. Beans. B e a n s. They’re chock-full of protein and great in almost anything. Similarly, find your next love in chickpeas! They’re a really simple addition to salad, soups, and typical bland foods.
- Leafy vegetables – Take full advantage of Sodexo’s new kale kick and stock up on it while you can! It’s the perfect, versatile leafy green. You can add it to your soup for a boost of iron, or even to your pasta to add a little extra something. Not only is it good for you, but it also brightens your plate!
- Healthy fats – Two words: peanut butter. If you’re gonna go vegan, peanut butter is your new best friend. It’s flavorful, smooth, and a beloved classic, so when everything else is looking sad, peanut butter is an excellent backup. (If you’re allergic, alternative nut butters will serve you just fine!)
Here are some pro tips for non-vegans, vegetarians, and aspiring vegans/vegetarians:
- Try to replace meat with other forms of protein! It’s healthier and a good way to switch things up.
- Chia is a good addition to smoothies and salads, and it gives you an extra boost of fiber.
- Eat immediately after working out to preserve muscle.
- Don’t cut out carbs! They’re not all bad and an important part of your diet — plus, they help balance out your proteins and make you feel full.
And lastly, here some surprising vegan foods to consider adding to your pantry:
- Sour Patch Kids
- Lollipops & other hard candies
- Duncan Hines Cake Mixes
- Taco Bell cinnamon twists
- Chipotle’s Sofritas
- Ritz crackers
- Pillsbury crescent rolls
- Nature Valley Peanut Butter crunchy granola bars
- Some Cliff energy bars
Don’t despair, vegan – you’ve got options. Go forth and eat.