The Beginner's Guide To Keeping Kosher In College
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The Beginner's Guide To Keeping Kosher In College

If we survived 40 years in the desert, we can survive 4 years of college.

The Beginner's Guide To Keeping Kosher In College
Mai Gattenyo

So you’ve started college, congratulations! You're probably swimming in new friends, challenging classes, and a dining hall in which you must eat all of your meals. This presents a challenge for many restricted eaters—people who are lactose intolerant, gluten-free, vegans, and of course, Jewish students who keep kosher. It’s a problem that many of us face, myself included, so here is a guide on how to stay healthy and happy as a kosher college student.

1. Pack in your protein

A significant part of a healthy person’s diet is eating protein—it keeps you full and focused. But protein doesn’t always have to come from meat. Protein is found in tons of non-meat sources, like nuts, beans, and even vegetables. Keep a jar of almonds on your desk and pair them with dried cranberries for a sweet afternoon treat. Mix kidney beans, black beans, or garbanzo beans (used to make hummus!) into a salad to make sure you’re getting your protein fix.

2. Go to Hillel or a local synagogue for Shabbat dinner

Many schools provide a big Shabbat meal, completely free of charge, for college students across the country. Friday night dinners at Hillel were always my staple during freshman year—and they might even let you take leftovers! Local synagogues are attended by plenty of families, some of whom would be glad to invite you for a kosher, Shabbat meal. Just contact them in advance! Chabad is also very welcoming to students.

3. Stock your fridge and freezer with handy supplies

If you want to keep kosher meat around but don’t have access to actual cooking facilities, cold cuts are an easy option. Find the nearest kosher butcher, or pack some from home with an ice pack, and stock up on lean meats like turkey or treat yourself with pastrami. With a loaf of rye bread and a bottle of mustard in your dorm mini-fridge, you’re good to go! There are also a variety of vegetarian and vegan products, some that even taste very much like meat, that are 100% microwave friendly and delicious. MorningStar Farms Grillers Prime patties are a staple in my diet, even after I moved out of my freshman dorm (pair with BBQ sauce for best results).

4. Salads and sandwiches are your saviors

The key to keeping a healthy, kosher-friendly diet in college is to avoid monotony, and salads and sandwiches are a great way to do so. Whether it be a base of romaine, spinach, or kale, salads can be designed in any style—caesar, southwestern, fruity, greek…the list goes on and on. Switch up your toppings and dressings and you’ll have a different salad every day of the week! The same goes with sandwiches. Between veggies, cheese, tuna salad, and avocado, there are plenty of combos that can keep you full and satisfied.

5. Talk to your cafeteria staff about possible kosher options

If you’re keeping kosher at your university, odds are that there are other students who would appreciate kosher food as well (if not kosher, maybe just better vegetarian and vegan options). Progress starts with a single step in the right direction, so approach the staff of your cafeteria or the religious staff on campus and see what changes can be made at your university to make the eating experience better for everyone.

Best of luck to everyone keeping kosher in college!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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