Eating Around Campus

College Meal Plans
Jun 12 2016

Eating Around Campus

Eating on college campuses can be challenging, but eating off campus can present its own set of unique problems. Students are spending their money on tuition, room, and board—and now food. All universities offer various meal plans, but these meal plans are not always the most affordable options.


When choosing a meal plan, make sure you don’t buy more than you need. Most universities offer unlimited meal plans and plans that provide students with two meals a day and different snacking options over the course of a semester. If you don’t think you will be visiting the dining hall frequently, then maybe the unlimited dining plan is not the best option for you.


Besides the fact that students and their parents are spending upwards of $5,000 on meal plans during freshmen year, students will ultimately become bored by the same food in the dining hall each day. As a result, students will crave food that is not from the dining hall. Whether this includes a drink from Starbucks on campus or ordering a pizza from the nearest pizzeria, students will be shelling out more money.


Certain meal plans allow students to have a fixed amount of money for snacking around campus. If your plan has this option, make sure you track your spending so that you do not spend money unnecessarily. Also think about your purchases before you make them. If you can drink Diet Coke from the dining hall as part of your meal plan, don’t waste the money buying it somewhere else if you are near the dining hall.


Eating off campus is an inevitable choice for most students. Most students eagerly await the chance they can get away from campus, and while out, will choose to spend their money on food they have been craving. This is not inherently harmful to students, but students need to be mindful of how much they are spending. Keeping tabs on spending habits will also be helpful so that students do not spend money that they do not actually have.


While finances are at the forefront of students’ minds, nutrition should also be a priority. Fast food is typically a cheap option that students enjoy, but students should be cognizant of the fact that fast food is not nutritious. When students are eating on campus, making healthy choices should be top-of-mind. Eating the same foods everyday will not only be boring, but it will likely not be healthy.


As you enter the world of college eating, make sure you think about both the financial and nutritional aspects of eating. Eating healthy foods and spending less money are not mutually excusive, so make sure you know your meal plan ahead of time.



My name is Megan Hammond, and I am an aspiring writer, blogger, and entrepreneur. As a senior in high school, I am involved in a wide array of activities ranging from the National Honor Society to Campus Ministry to the figure skating team.
When I am not in the classroom, I am likely working. My passion for figure skating transcends beyond my personal goals, and I enjoy teaching figure skating at USA Hockey Arena.
During my free time, I am typically reading or writing. I am passionate about English and Spanish, and I spend my free time trying to improve my skills in these areas. When I’m not reading or writing, I am usually working on new graphic design projects in Photoshop. I hope that I can put all of these skills to use as I pursue a career in marketing.

Photo Credit: Mahdi Gransberry

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