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College Food & Meal Plans

Find tasty and healthy food at college.

Eating good food at college is essential for both your physical and mental health.

US college students are often warned about the “Freshman 15″: the 15 pounds that many new college students supposedly gain by eating and drinking a lot of unhealthy food and beverages. Fortunately, colleges and universities nowadays offer a variety of food to keep you happy and healthy.

College Food Plans

As a student, you will be able to buy a college food plan. Depending on the pre-paid plan you choose, you can eat a set number of meals through your college’s dining service. For example, one college food plan may be 10 meals per week, while another may be 19 meals per week.

Choose the food plan that best fits your habits and schedule. If you buy a plan with too few meals, you will have to find food off-campus or buy a single meal at the commons, which can be more expensive. But you also don’t want to choose a plan with too many meals– you probably won’t get a refund for the meals you don’t use.

Healthy Food at College

College food is more than mystery meat. Many universities have plenty of options to keep both your heart and your taste buds happy.

Yes, you can have your pick of pie, cake and ice cream, but you will also have healthier options such as salad and cold cuts. Some colleges cater to specific tastes or dietary needs. Ohio State University, for example, has a vegetarian dining hall.

Other Food Options

Of course, your college dining hall isn’t the only place to find food on campus. Your college will probably have restaurants within walking distance, and the student union may have meal options as well.

If the types of food that are available to students is important to you, learn if you can buy it nearby. For example, the availability of international food may be limited at some campuses.

If you live off-campus or have a refrigerator and/or microwave in your college dorm room, you can make some of your meals at home. Remember to check your dorm’s policy about what types of electric kitchen equipment you can use in your room. Your dorm may also have a shared kitchen you can use for cooking and baking.

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As you decide which college to attend, ask about your college’s food and dining options. Better yet, sample a bite when you are on your college visit. You want college food that fits both your tastes and your budget.