If you are headed to college next fall, one of the expenses you may see added to your college bill is a meal plan. Many colleges now require freshmen to enroll in a college meal plan, as it helps ensure students have access to regular meals throughout the semester, as well as encouraging students to socialize with others on campus. On average, college meal plans can run anywhere from $1,200 a year to over $6,300, so finding one that fits your dietary needs and budget is an important step in your college planning process. You can expect to find the typical menu staples like hamburgers and pizza at your campus cafeteria, but if you have specialized dietary needs or a picky palate, you may need to research your options before committing to a plan. Although many campuses have increased their menu options to accommodate more students, these college meal plans have taken dining to an entirely new level.
Forget cheeseburgers for dinner, how about a nice lobster? If you attend Bowdoin College, not only can you expect to get fresh seafood regularly, but also fresh baked breads and organic vegetables grown right on campus! The college regularly includes gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan items on the menu, as well as foods for those with nut or lactose allergies. Did I mention they also cut their own meat to ensure it has less than 15 percent fat? It’s no surprise that Bowdoin is consistently ranked among the top 20 colleges for best food. Freshmen are required to register for the 19-meal plan, which costs $6,390.00 annually, so start saving now if you plan to eat like a king!
Home to over 40 dining venues, Duke University offers some of the most cutting-edge dining options in the country. Along with the traditional cafeterias, there are familiar restaurants, such as Chick-fil-A, Loop Pizza and even McDonald’s, so you can satisfy any craving. If you have food allergies or other dietary needs, Duke has you covered. The food is so good, it even has its own blog! First-year students receive 12 all-you-can-eat meals and can enroll in one of three plans, ranging from $2,695.00 to $2,800.00 annually.
Currently ranked as #2 for ‘best college food’ by The Princeton Review, Virginia Tech is no stranger to winning awards for its dining options. In the last five years, over 50 colleges and businesses have recognized the outstanding efforts of the VT chefs, facilities and programs. I guess that’s why over 10,000 off-campus residents also enroll in the meal plans. Whether you indulge in the all-you-care-to-eat menu at D2, satisfy your sweet tooth at Deet’s Place, or check out one of the restaurants located inside Turner Place, you’re sure to never go hungry on this campus! Freshmen must purchase one of three meal plans, ranging from $1,403.00 to $1,608.00 annually.
Do you want to be able to eat as much as you want anywhere on campus? Check out Middlebury College. Although it does not have as diverse a menu as some of the previous colleges mentioned, its program alone is innovative. Students can dine at any of the campus cafeterias, taking as many portions as they desire and even visiting more than one venue during the same meal. If you’re still hungry late at night, stop by the Grille for a Quadruple Bypass Burger – I dare you to eat the whole thing! The best part about the Middlebury meal plan – it’s free!
Consistently recognized as one of the most vegan-friendly campuses in the U.S., Cornell University takes great pride in accommodating anyone with a kosher, Halal, Muslim, Seventh-Day Adventists, vegetarian, vegan, and other specialized diet. If you can’t get enough of their delicious food, no worries, there are over 10 all-you-care-to-eat venues on campus. The campus also offers to-go meals, sick trays and special event meals. Incoming freshmen must choose one of four basic meal plans, ranging from $2,225.00 to $3,230.00 per semester. I guess eating healthy does cost more!
If you attend college in Colorado, you might want to look into the Flatiron Meal Plan. Basically, it’s like a campus meal plan, but used at restaurants and grocery stores off campus. You can use your card for dine-in, pick-up, or delivery at one of the 90 merchants currently participating in the program. There are a variety of 14-week plans, ranging from $315.00 to $1,890.00. Be sure to check with your college campus to see if you can use the plan before enrolling.
You have to eat while you’re in college, so you might as well find a plan that fits your budget and satisfies your cravings too. Bon appetite!