Eating Vegan in College

How can vegans get adequate protein?

Vegans do not eat animal-derived foods, including meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. If you are a vegan, educate yourself on ways to get enough protein in your diet. Protein can be categorized into two types--animal and plant.

  • Animal proteins(meat, milk, and eggs) are sources of complete protein. They have all the essential amino acids (building blocks of proteins) that our bodies need.
  • Plant proteins are incomplete. Incomplete proteins do not provide all the essential amino acids that we need to be healthy. Because they do not have all the essential amino acids, it makes it necessary to combine different plant sources to help cover the gaps that each one has.

Combining plant protein sources

There are many good sources of plant proteins. These sources include wheat, nuts, peas, beans, corn, rice, and soy. Although it is not required to combine these sources in the same meal it is important to include a variety of plant protein sources in your diet over time. The table below provides some healthy and delicious ways to combine incomplete plant protein sources to optimize the amino acids that vegans need.

Cereal grain Legume Plant Protein Food Combinations
Wheat Peanut Whole wheat toast with peanut butter
Corn Beans Vegan burrito or taco on corn tortilla
Rice Soy Stir fry with brown rice and tofu

Tips for vegans in the dorms

  1. Top salads with almonds, sunflower seeds, or beans.
  2. Make sandwiches or wraps with humus and a variety of vegetables.
  3. Eat high protein snacks such as nuts or roasted chickpeas.
  4. Keep snacks such as fruit, vegetables, and mixed nuts in your dorm room.
  5. Discover local restaurants with vegan dishes so you'll always have an option besides the dorms.
  6. Vary your protein sources to keep your diet healthy and sustainable over time.


Photo: Vegan wrap