Meal Plan: Yay or Nay?

Here are a few things to consider before purchasing or ditching a meal plan:

  • Cost:  Some students think that a meal plan is too expensive and they will save money by cancelling their meal plan and cooking at home.  While this may be the case if each and every meal and snack is bought and prepared at home, most students neglect to consider that despite having a fridge full of food, they will go out to eat or grab quick meals on campus when they are studying.  And remember, while Ramen and oatmeal can be delicious at times, they were not meant to be eaten morning, noon, and night!
  • Transportation:  When you have a house and a car, you can go from a spot directly in front of your home to a spot directly in front of the grocery store and back, but it can still be a pain to lug your groceries into the house.  Now consider walking to the bus stop, waiting for the bus, going shopping and only being able to fill as many grocery bags as can fit in your two hands, walking back to the bus stop, waiting for the bus again, riding the bus back to campus and walking back to your room (all of these with groceries in tow, of course).  Keep in mind that one gallon of milk weighs 8 pounds!
  • Logistics:  What about storage and preparation?  A large dorm fridge can only store a third of the groceries of a regular sized refrigerator and the freezer space is almost nonexistent.  In terms of food prep, you are limited to things you can cook in the microwave or the community kitchen.
  • Time:  In addition to class, work, studying, homework and extracurricular activities, do you have time to spare for grocery shopping, food preparation, and clean up?  If you choose to cook in a dorm kitchen, are you able to fit extra time in to your schedule to account for wait time to use the facilities?
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