Tag Archives: student life

To Meal Plan or Not to Meal Plan…THAT is the question!

Pros and Cons for the Biggest Decision of Your Life

College comes with so many responsibilities. Registering for classes, picking out textbooks, bus routes…it’s overwhelming! But let’s cut to the chase. We know what’s really on everyone’s mind. Say it with me: FOOD!!

Your source of food should be your number one priority (after housing of course). Deciding whether or not to get a meal plan may seem like an easy choice, but there are actually many factors to consider. Lucky for all of you, I am going to list out some pros and cons so you can ultimately make the best decision for you and your late night munchies.

Meal Plan

Pros

  1. Convenient as Heck

    If we’re being honest, getting a meal plan is the most convenient choice. You don’t have to worry about cooking or where to go: If you’re in a hurry you can just drop in and eat from the variety of choices CDS has cooked up for you in Lenoir or Chase Dining Hall. Not to mention Lenoir is only a hop, skip and a jump away from the academic buildings. Not feeling the dining hall? Some meal plans even offer FLEX which you can use for meals from the bottom of Lenoir that include Chik-Fil-A, Subway, and other goodies. BLESS.

  2. Friend Hack

    Forget the frat. Dining halls is where it’s at. This is the place to be with your friends.  I’m not even joking. Almost half the school eats in the dining halls, so you are bound to meet some pretty cool peeps and make those long lasting friendships. Sit down, grab a burrito, and bond over your love of food!

  3. Theme Nights

    Chase Dining Hall is notorious for throwing some mad bashes and theme nights with extra special food. Yes, chocolate fountain, I’m looking at you. These are exclusive to students with meal plans, so if you don’t have one, sorry not sorry, but that means more for me!

  4. All You Can Eat

    Meal plans are especially good for you kids who have insatiable hunger. One meal swipe can get you all the food you want: pizza, noodles, salads, dessert, etc. CDS even offers the unlimited block plan which means you can swipe in however many times your little heart desires!

Cons

  1. Empty pockets?

    Depending on your situation, meal plans can be a little expensive, especially if you have really specific dietary restrictions. (CDS does always offer vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options as well other things, but it is does mean you have less to choose from.)

  2. Surplus Meals

    Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and we can severely overestimate what block plan we need. At the end of the semester, you can be sure you’ll find students going to Facebook offering to swipe people in with their left over swipes. If you get a meal plan, make sure to commit to it because we don’t get roll-over meals!

  3. Not available? Out of luck!

    Dining Halls are only open at scheduled times. Not only does this mean it is always crowded during regular dining hours (which means long lines!), but it also means that if you have a class during that time, you might not get to go eat until later. However, CDS does offer reusable take out containers if you have time for a quick stop-by!

  4. Freshman 15

    I will say, an all you can eat buffet everyday tends to add some pounds. Not a big deal if you don’t mind, but if you’re looking to avoid extra weight, it’s going to be a little hard to resist the Rams Head Cookies.

No Meal Plan

Pros

  1. Learn to Cook

    There are plenty of kitchens in every residence hall so impress your shawty with your “adulting” skills. ‘Nuff said.

  2. Make it Rain

    By only spending as much as you eat, you might have some leftover change to treat yo’self. Franklin Street has some great options! If nothing else, it will teach you valuable budgeting skills.

  3. Eat When You Want

    Without dining hall hours holding you back, you can eat when you want as long as you have the materials.

Cons

  1. Mac, Ramen, and Chips . . . OH MY!

    Without a meal plan, it’s easy to rely on microwaveables like ramen that are not particularly good for you. If you can’t commit to cooking healthy, you’re probably better off with a meal plan.

  2. Where is Harris Teeter?

    Shopping for groceries can be a pain if you don’t have a car. The only nearby stores are CVS and Walgreen’s and they’re not exactly known for their fresh veggies. You can always get to Harris Teeter by a few buses, but sometimes it’s just easier to go into a dining hall if you don’t have the time.

  3. Missing Out

    Like I mentioned before, dining halls have a lot of people. By choosing not to get a meal plan, you’re making it just *that* much harder to find your family in the big sea of people that is UNC.

Both options have their merit. Consider each situation. If you can put in the effort, not having a meal plan can be rewarding, especially when you wow your friends with your chef skills. However, if you’re not an ace in the kitchen and don’t have time for that ish, stick with a meal plan.

Pro Tip: CDS offers the option for a trial period. Gauge yourself out. If you decide that it’s for you, go for the meal plan. If not, you can always change your mind! Your tummy will thank you. 🙂

Check it out @ http://dining.unc.edu/