Oftentimes, people don’t understand why someone would choose to eat a plant-based diet, much less why one would do so on a college campus. What are you going to eat? Don’t you need protein? Judgmental comments like these are all too common. You are always going to find people who don’t agree with a certain life choice, but don’t let that dissuade you from giving it a try. There are tons of healthy, delicious options available at Furman that fit the plant-based diet. Tofu and vegetable stir fry, lentil and chickpea cakes with pesto sauce, vegan chili... what more could you ask for? Plant-based meals can be delicious and deserve a lot more credit. So, if you’re thinking about giving plant-based eating a try, here’s some advice based on my own experience.

Although I don’t strictly follow a plant-based diet, I love incorporating hearty fruits and vegetables into my diet. I typically gravitate towards the vegan, "in balance", and Mongolian Grill stations at the dining hall, and if you have yet to explore the vegan section, keep your eye out for the thai coconut tofu curry. It is a must try and I would highly recommend it – you can thank me later. If you’re curious and wanting to become more adventurous in the DH, I say go for it. There are lots of filling and nutritious options for students, and now that it is back in full force, you can always count on finding vegetables and complex carbohydrates to satisfy everyday cravings and hunger.

Additionally, getting in the routine of making healthy food decisions is a habit college students could use a little more of, especially with all the midterm stress and late nights coming up. Say goodbye to pizza and Chick-Fil-A runs and hello to sweet potatoes and quinoa — okay, not totally, we all have guilty pleasures we need to satisfy here and there! But in all seriousness, the food we put into our body is important. Healthy meals provide our body the nutrients and energy we need to be active and function properly. It is critical that we fuel our mind and body right, so be sure to include the right balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy saturated fats in your diet. And of course, it is crucial to treat yourself now and again — balance is key!

So, what are my go-to plant-based options on campus? If I’m not at the DH, I’m probably at Bread and Bowl. I love their Furman Bowl which consists of kale, red quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted beets, black beans, pumpkin seeds, local goat cheese, butter bread crunch, and roasted shallot vinaigrette (I opt-out of the goat cheese and butter bread crunch). As for the DH, I love the roasted green beans with mushrooms and red onion, steamed caviar medley with wheat berries and fresh herbs, and you can never go wrong with a baked potato and vegan butter. But eating on the go is a big part of college life too, so I’m always packing energy balls, crackers, or a classic — walnuts and a banana. And if you’re in need of something extra sweet, try dates dipped in almond butter. Just put them in the freezer overnight and enjoy them the next day! With all these great options, go grab a group of friends and explore all the tasty options available to us at Furman — your mind, body, and tastebuds will thank you!