After being a vegetarian for almost ten years, I thought veganism would be a walk in the park and boy, was I wrong right? Okay, maybe “a walk in the park” isn’t completely accurate, but it is not as hard as I thought it would be. The greatest struggle I’ve faced is the unpredictable and unreliable cafeteria food. Sound familiar? Here are my top 7 tips to eat in the caf and keep your vegan virtue from becoming a thing of the past.

1. Perspective


Photo courtesty of

The first and most important tip is having a clear motivation for changing your diet. Whether your motivation is the environment, cruelty, or your health, it is important to know why you’re going through the trouble of a vegan diet. Changing the way you look at food will help reduce the temptation of a cheesy pizza slice or the sundae bar. I stopped eating animal products for environmental reasons that completely altered the way I thought about food. A hard-boiled egg at breakfast was no longer a quick way to get protein; it became 55 gallons of water and half a pound of carbon dioxide emission. Educating yourself about the impacts of your actions will change your attitude towards food. This will be the difference between not wanting to eat something rather than feeling like you can’t.

2. The Balance Bar


Photo by Laura Palladino

The Balance Bar in the Howe Hall caf has been my best friend this year. There are always vegan options that are edible 90% of the time. If the Balance Bar isn’t enough, look at the other hot bar options. There are always some kind of steamed veggies, rice, and a bean dish in the Comfort Zone.

3. Peanut Butter


Photo by Chirstin Orsu

Ask a staff member at the entrance of the caf for peanut butter. It’s a great vegan source of protein and good-for-you fats.

4. Fruit


Photo by Bonnie Wu

Using fruit as a way to spice up otherwise boring meals is an essential part of surviving the caf. For example, toast with peanut butter can be easily transformed by adding some sliced bananas or apples.

5. Soy and Almond Milk


Photo by Yonatan Soler

A small fridge near the Cameron dining room houses many different kinds of soy and almond milk. This makes being a vegan in the caf so much easier.

6. Don’t Be Shy

There have been so many times I assume some of the caf food is not vegan. After learning my lesson by passing up so many vegan friendly foods, I always make sure to ask a cafeteria employee before I pass by it. #SpoonTip: the whipped cream in the cafeteria is vegan most of the time.

7. Get Creative

As hard as it is, try not to get in the routine of eating the same thing everyday. Try incorporating new ingredients into your favourite recipes to keep your taste buds alive. Trial and error will be key here.