Before I get to today's blog post, here's one last reminder for my Ohio-area Herbies that I'm in Athens this weekend! (Saturday, September 7 and Sunday, September 8) A few tickets still remain, so it's not too late to come see me for food and fun! I can't wait to meet all of you :)
Now, meet Jamee! HH's Fall Intern! Although Jamee neglected to put this in her cover letter ;) I met Jamee last year at a Happy Herbivore Meetup in Salt Lake City.
After Jamee had already started interning, I figured this out in the most roundabout fashion: I was working on an upcoming Q&A blog post, and scanned the blog for an image of the Happy Herbivore buttons and stickers. (*stickers are temporarily sold out -- more on the way!)
I found this image, and as soon as I saw the name, I remembered I'd read in Jamee's email that she worked at Whole Foods Market... Then I also remembered that I'd given out those buttons at the SLC meetup before they were online for sale, which is how I had this picture! Jamee had sent it in after the meetup so I could use it in my promotion of our new buttons and stickers!
Anyway, my email went something like "Did I meet you in Utah?"
We both had a good round of belly-aching-laughs.
I'm thrilled to have Jamee on board with us this semester. Her "project" is to manage all the recipe testing for my 5th cookbook, that I'm writing now. (#4 Light & Lean will be here soon!)
All right, I've hijacked my intern's post long enough!
This fall semester marks four years of being a college student and one year of being vegan and plant-based. With that time and experience under my belt, I’m pretty confident in my ability to eat a well-balanced, healthy, convenient and affordable diet.
Everybody knows the stereotypes that come to mind when you think of a college student. I remember walking into a grocery store during my sophomore year and seeing a massive display of ramen noodles with my school’s name decorated on it. These kinds of food make for awesome jokes and knowing grins from people who have been there and done that, but they don’t make for a high nutrient intake!
Just because you know what you should be eating, doesn’t mean it’s always easy to eat that way 100% of the time. There are a variety of reasons why college students traditionally have poor eating habits, but there are also many ways to get around those setbacks and stock your pantry with things that will give you energy and lots of brainpower!
As a full-time student who only works part-time, money is something I am always thinking about. I make enough to live comfortably, but there’s a budget I have to stick to if I want to have enough leftover to pay my rent! Because of this, I keep a mental list of my own plant-based versions of poor college student meals:
Rice & beans
Whole wheat pasta & homemade sauce
Oatmeal & frozen fruit
Easy Macaroni and Cheese (HHC pg. 159)
Chickpea Tenders (EHH pg. 182)
Peanut butter & banana toast
Pancakes (HHC pg. 28) & tofu bacon
Black Bean Burgers (HHC pg. 86)
Sweet & Sour Tempeh (EHH pg. 145)
Of course, these are just a handful of the many inexpensive plant-based meals there are in the world (and in Lindsay’s cookbooks!) but they are a few of my favorite staples. The best part about them is the way in which you can make variations on them. One day I might have black beans and brown rice seasoned with soy sauce, the next day I’ll switch it up and use lime juice and hot sauce for a totally different feel to the exact same meal. It’s also a huge money (and health) saver to make your own faux meats. Most frozen veggie burgers and bacon substitutes are full of oil and fairly expensive. I use half of a block of tofu, cut it into thin strips, soak it in a bit of low-sodium soy sauce and liquid smoke, and sauté it in a pan until crispy. Add in some pancakes with some banana slices and you’ve got a fancy, healthy breakfast that cost you less than a drive-thru meal at McDonald’s.
Because I only cook for myself, leftovers are non-negotiable. They are the key to being able to eat both inexpensively and quickly! I can make a homemade pasta sauce that gives me at least five servings for less than $3. Once that sauce is made and in the fridge, I’m only a noodle-boil away from a warm, home-cooked meal.
One of the best investments I’ve made is a good set of tupperware in lots of different sizes. (Not only do they house my future meals in the fridge, they make awesome transportation mechanisms for crackers in my backpack!) I’ve found having something pre-made in the fridge is the best way to avoid a quick stop at the Subway on campus because you only have one hour in between school and work. Those $5 veggie foot longs may seem cheap, but they can add up!
I don’t have time to make a new meal from scratch every single day, but when I do, I always make enough for the long, crazy days that most semesters are filled with. For example, I made a tempeh wrap three times this week, but I only had to cut and sauté the tempeh once. After that’s done, it’s less than five minutes of veggie chopping and hummus spreading and I’m in business. True fast food!
There’s no question that I think more about food than the average 22-year-old. I am always thinking ahead to my next meal or snack. I’m trained to make sure I am never stuck in a situation where I am hungry, but there’s nothing plant-based to be found. When I leave the house in the morning, I always take snacks with me. One of my biggest challenges with snacks on campus is the lack of ability to keep them cold. Baby carrots and celery sticks are great when they’re crisp and fresh, but after a two-hour lecture class, they decline rapidly in taste and texture.
So I’ve had to get creative and come up with a solid rotation of non-perishable snacks that aren’t filled with added sugars, oils, and other junk.
365 Everyday Value Baked Woven Wheats
Apples, oranges, bananas
Dried, unsweetened mango slices
Some of these are brand-specific because of their short ingredients list. The ingredients for the edamame are simply soy beans and salt, and the woven wheats are also made of just whole wheat and salt. I’m sure there are other companies out there with similar products, but these are the ones I use and love!
At the end of the day, planning ahead is truly the way I am able to eat a healthy, plant-based diet while being a college student. I look forward to the day when I will be able to walk into a Whole Foods and buy all of the most expensive, organic produce and specialty items without checking the prices first. In the meantime, I will shop at multiple stores for the best deals, eat seasonally, and stay creative, because fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains are in all the stores – you just have to make the choice to seek them out.
Thanks Jamee! So thrilled to have you as part of Team HH!