Gender and Women's Studies
Nutrition and Food Sciences
Vegan; Nutrition; Health; Affordable Recipes; Students
Vegan in College
Simple, Affordable, Healthy Meals for Students
For the entirety of my college career I have led a vegan lifestyle. Like many students, college represented the first time in my life where I experienced true independence. As I began to live by myself, I had to make food choices and overcome barriers such as lack of time, money and knowledge of nutrition. While leading a healthy vegan lifestyle can be affordable and easy, I struggled to find this balance and I knew I wasn’t alone.
Many students, vegan or not, experience the same barriers to eating healthfully that I did. I set out to discover the specific barriers that vegan students face and to come up with meaningful solutions. I started with qualitative research. I conducted a focus group with vegan students in order to learn about the food choices that they make on a tight budget and the barriers that can lead them away from their goal of a healthful vegan lifestyle. I learned about the distrust that these students have in traditional sources of nutrition information. Many felt that traditional sources of information were biased and that they could not relate to them because they included animal products in their definition of a healthy diet. I learned how students use recipes as meal inspiration and the importance that having easy to prepare recipes plays in their lives.
As a result, I began to create an educational resource for vegan students who are in the same position that I am. Through this process I learned about nutrition information specifically tailored to vegan students, how to conduct qualitative research, how to create and test my own recipes designed to help solve the barriers to success vegan face at URI, and how to create a visually appealing resource for students. The number of students choosing to lead a vegan lifestyle at URI and across the country is constantly increasing. It is my hope that my honors project can become a resource for them to turn to while they learn to live a healthy life on their own.