The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Vegetarian and Vegan Living in Your Twenties

Posted on November 08, 2011 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Candice DeForest

Life in your twenties can be chaotic. You may be transitioning from college to a full-time job, or just leaving home for the first time and figuring out how to balance grocery shopping, planning meals, cooking and attempting to be healthy on a budget. As a vegetarian or vegan, this can seem particularly daunting as there may be a perception of health food as expensive or unaffordable. I’ll admit, I’ve pushed grocery shopping to the bottom of my priority list at times and managed to surprise myself with an everything-in-the-pantry inventive black bean burger! (You’d be surprised at how few ingredients you actually need to whip up a tasty, easy meal.)

Sometimes, it seems easier to skip meals or grab fast food while you’re busy and on the go. However, the good news is you don’t have to stick to a ramen noodle or all carb diet to lead a healthy and balanced life as a busy young professional.

Here are three tips to simplify and take control of your vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.

  1. Research: As with any major life decision or goal, it is important to take a knowledgeable approach. In particular with diet, each person has individual requirements according to their lifestyle, activity level and health needs. Start by understanding the basics of how to build a balanced and healthy diet with a few helpful articles from The Vegetarian Resource Group.

    Also, consider joining a vegetarian networking group (try Meetup.com) to share recipes and ideas with others. Don’t forget to subscribe to the VRG email newsletter for ongoing tips and recipe ideas. New to the vegan and vegetarian lifestyle? Consider trying it for a month before committing long term. Convince a friend to join you in your new endeavor!

  2. Plan: Once you’ve consulted your sources, it is time to begin your plan of action! Consider how much time do you have to devote each week or day to meal planning or grocery shopping and what a realistic budget may be to spend on food each month. A few helpful tips for the planning process:
    • Set a budget for grocery shopping and dining out.
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    • Spend those few minutes during commercial breaks of your favorite TV show to plan meals for the week.
    • Stick to a list for grocery shopping.
    • Prepare easy grab-and-go snacks at the beginning of each week to save time, such as cutting up veggies or making a trail mix with your favorite nuts and dried fruit for a high-protein snack.
  3. Have fun: Last but not least, have fun with it. A vegan lifestyle in your 20′s doesn’t have to be all about health blogs and grocery shopping lists! Consider planning meals with friends, trying new recipes, signing up for a vegan cooking course or dining out at your favorite vegan restaurant. Check out the online restaurant guide for a state-by-state listing of veggie-friendly places to dine. Personal favorites include Aladdin’s Eatery with its to-die-for hummus and Tommy’s Restaurant falafel which has yet to be beat!
     
    I love getting my friends together for a potluck night where we each bring a dish to share. There’s always plenty to go around and the cost is minimal for each person. To save a few bucks each week, search for coupons online and in store flyers and advertisements. A couple of additional resources to check out for recipe ideas:

How do you manage a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle? Share your questions or comments here.

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5 to “Vegetarian and Vegan Living in Your Twenties”

  1. AIDY says:

    About 5 months ago I started eating more raw foods after a 3 day cleanse. Changed my life for the better. I agree, just have fun eating better and feeling great! I found that its extremely easy to choose a vegan lifestyle.

  2. Candice says:

    Glad to hear you are having fun and feeling great! It sounds like vegan living has had a positive impact on your life. I agree though, having fun while doing it is one of the most important aspects.

  3. Jessica says:

    Hi Candice, a friend of mine wants to go vegan and asked me if she should buy organic vegetables or is it OK to go with the regular ones. She’s a student and needs to save every penny and organic is a little more expensive.

    I told her that in terms of nutrients it’s probably the same, but she’ll probably consume more chemicals because of the pesticides.

    What do you recommend?

  4. Candice says:

    Hi Jessica:

    Thanks for the comment. I agree that in a pinch, organic vegetables will generally provide the same nutrients as regular ones. However, be sure to wash every fruit and veggie before eating them! Typically I like to wash all of my produce as soon as I bring it home from the grocery store, so that is easy to grab when I’m pressed for time. Hope that helps!

  5. Jim says:

    Great advice. I went vegetarian recently and had trouble keeping my energy levels up. I am fit and have a very active lifestyle. I found the lentils really help in maintaining a balance diet.



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