College student aged 20, vegetarian since age 14, realizes she may not be as healthy as she would like
Hello! I’ve been reading up on your website, and I’ve realized I may not be as healthy as I wish. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 14, and now I’m in college and almost 20.
I don’t feel unhealthy, or sick, but I feel like I’m a carb fanatic. I try my best to always eat lots of fruits and veggies, but sadly it doesn’t always work out this way.I’m underweight, as I have been for my entire life because my whole family is just thin. I would like to gain a bit of weight, and gain a healthy lifestyle with it.
But with that, I have no idea where to start, and as a college student I don’t have much money to spend. There is also no meal plan at my school, so I don’t have that to fall back on for a nice salad.
Where should I begin when shopping for food that doesn’t take much time/effort to cook? Are frozen vegetables much worse than fresh? And what’s the greatest way to gain some weight and still be a vegetarian? Thanks so much!! – S.W.
Savvy Vegetarian Advice:
Whew! I could write a book on these questions! But the free reports that I’ve already written – those are a good place to start. Even tho you’ve been vegetarian for 6 years, they’ll be helpful. Here’s where to download them:
Nutrition Report 
Ten Tips For Going Veg 
Get a recipe book with quick and easy recipes to give you some ideas, e.g. Nava Atlas ‘The Vegetarian 5 Ingredient Gourmet’ or Robin Robertson’s ‘Quick Fix Vegetarian’. And of course cruise Savvy Vegetarian Recipes  for things to make in quantity and freeze.
A Few More Tips:
1. The more basic and unrefined the food you buy and the more you cook your own, the cheaper it’ll be, and way more nutritious. I’m talking about minimally packaged or bulk foods, raw fruit & veg etc.
2. Frozen veg is a better option than no veg, but try to have something fresh every day, even if it’s just carrot or celery sticks or an apple.
3. It saves a lot of time to cook larger amounts of whatever you’re making, then freeze in serving size containers to take along or eat before or after school. A crock pot could be helpful.
4 . Carbs are good unless you’re overweight, diabetic etc. But shift your carb focus at least partly to unrefined whole grains (i.e. not packaged cereals) to get better nutrition – e.g. brown rice, oatmeal  for breakfast (yummy with dried fruit, nuts or seeds , cinnamon added), granola, etc.
4. Bring along healthy snacks like fresh fruit and veg, whole grain crackers or chips, hummus , granola & (plain) yogurt, mixtures of dried fruit, nuts and seeds. That’ll reduce the temptation to eat junk food and sweets.
5. Be sure to get healthy fats in your diet from foods like coconut oil, olive oil, flax oil, nuts and seeds, avocados. That, and three actual meals a day would also help you gain weight. Plus weight training or yoga, funnily enough.
Later on you might look back with nostalgia at your skinny young self!
Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian