Contributed by Jennifer Dawson

[caption id="attachment_3124" align="alignleft" width="300"] Photo by Naim Benjelloun from Pexels[/caption]

Decades ago, becoming a vegan may have seemed more like wishful thinking than a reality, but in recent years, going on a plant-based diet has become mainstream, especially among young people. Most young vegans enjoy this lifestyle as it helps them to manage their weight, allows them to be healthier, and enables them to consume products in an ethical way. According to a recent poll, 38 percent of vegans between the ages of 18 and 24 said that they've eliminated meat and other animal by products from their diet because they're concerned about sustainability and animal welfare. Being a vegan at home is quite easy, as you can readily access the ingredients that you need to make a healthy meal. But being a vegan in college is another story, and a busy class schedule and the availability of vegan options may make it quite difficult to stick to this diet. Thankfully, there are several ways that you can eat a plant-based diet while living in campus. Here are some simple ways to be a healthy vegan in college.

Keep dehydrated food in your dorm room

Becoming a vegan means committing to this healthy lifestyle no matter where you are. Most vegans who've been eating a plant-based diet for years have gone above and beyond their diet and are wearing sustainable clothing and are using vegan or cruelty-free products. Some have even gone the extra mile by creating a sustainable home with reclaimed wood and furnishings made from organic cotton. In college, you can continue to live a vegan lifestyle by wearing eco-friendly clothing and stocking up on vegan-friendly food.

If you don't have a fridge, it may be difficult to keep fresh produce and other dairy free essentials such as vegan cheese or vegan yogurt in your dorm room. However, you can keep vegan dehydrated food, such as cans of ABC Soup Mix so you can make a bowl of hot soup to sustain you on cold nights. You can even keep a supply of dehydrated banana slices, blueberries, nectarines, plums and apples to make a trail mix for a healthy snack. Don't forget to add some dehydrated peppers or broccoli in your stash - they're great when added to plain fried rice.

Shop at the nearest farmer's market

Shopping at the nearest farmer's market can give you a lot of food options that will encourage you to eat a healthy vegan diet everyday. Always buy produce that's enough for two to three days so they won't spoil in your dorm room. You can buy cherry tomatoes, cucumber, potatoes, avocados, bell peppers, citrus fruits, peaches and plums, since these can be stored at room temperature. Use these ingredients to make your dinner, so even if you had nothing but plain bread or pasta for lunch at the cafeteria, you can have another vegan meal that's healthier for you.

Always pack snacks

Snacking is important to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. Never leave the dorm without a couple of vegan snacks in your bag, such as trail mix, an apple or a banana. You should also carry a reusable container with cut up veggies. Make some hummus from scratch so you can dip your veggies in it, or buy ready-made hummus. Just check the label to see if it's 100 percent vegan, as some hummus varieties are made with non-vegan ingredients.

Being a vegan in college comes with a few challenges, but with planning and making the right food choices, you can eat a plant-based diet everyday. Consider these tips to eat a vegan diet on campus and stay healthy while you're in school.