By Angelina Bruno
UB students armed with student IDs and meal plans often run into one of two
Big eaters burn through their dining dollars in the first two weeks of the
semester and have to try to survive with only 14-19 meals week to week afterward.
Then there are the lighter eaters; they skip breakfast a couple times and before
they know it, they find themselves racking up unusable meals at the end of each
week and an excessive amount of dining dollars at the end of the semester. It would
be real nice if we could get our money back from UB for unused meals during the
semester. Since that will never happen here are some tips and tricks to try balancing
your dining diet as we approach the end of the semester.
The most important thing to do is to budget meals for the week. Think
about your schedule, do you wake up in time for breakfast every day? Do you have
to rush to class certain mornings and not have time to use a meal? These are all
things to factor into your plan. The mealtime periods can make it difficult to eat at a
convenient time for your schedule. A good way to work around the system is to use
two meals during dinner: one for your actual dinner and one for items that you can
eat for breakfast during the week. Options like fruit cups and hard-boiled eggs that
can be refrigerated for breakfast the next morning. You can also buy small cartons
of milk and cereal at most campus dining locations. Operating this way you get more
value for your breakfast because you can use $8.25 during dinner as opposed to
$4.50 for breakfast or $5.00 for late night.
Some of the best ways to use up dining dollars and meals are places you don’t
necessarily think about. You can go to the Elli or Teddy’s convenient stores to buy
useful things like sugar for tea, ice cream that isn’t frozen yogurt and bison chip dip.
If you have extra money when using meals, pick up chips to use as a snack later in
your room with the dip. Vending machines are also a good way to use dining. You
can buy drinks or candy to snack on while studying. Ordering from the Incredibull
site is also useful. You might not always have time to step out of your room for lunch
or late night but you don’t need to. You can order everything from pizza and subs to
fried dough and mozzarella sticks straight to your room using dining. Another tip
for meals is not to buy a ridiculous amount of water bottles when you have meals
left on a Friday. It isn’t worth it with the nice filtered water fountains being installed
all over campus. Think ahead and go to Tim Horton’s and buy boxes of donuts for
your friends, classes, or clubs. I know it sounds like all of these options are very
unhealthy but you can also buy snacks like apples or bananas. Remember to always
ask how many meals you have or how much of this and that you can get to make the
most of your meal.
A good way for those who run out of meals to operate is to find out when
there will be free food on campus. They aren’t hard to find, especially if you like
pizza. You may end up enjoying a fun event as well because many clubs try to entice
students to their meetings and events with food. Another idea for both those who
have too much and too little is to team up. If your friend has too much to eat, share
with a friend who doesn’t have enough. That way food will not be wasted and no one
will go hungry.
Dining Dos and Don’ts
The amount of wasted food on this campus is pretty disgraceful, especially
when you look at how much it costs to have a meal plan. The meal plan averages to
about $21.00 dollars a day spent on food. That is far more than most people need.
Despite these high costs, dining dollars and meals exchanges are helpful because
there is no tax. The only downside to using only dining is that it costs twice as
much to go to the dining halls as it does using a meal. C3’s food is better than most
dining halls but certainly is not worth $13.00. For that price you can go out to eat
somewhere nice or buy your own good food for dinner that isn’t loaded with less
than tasty spices. Despite these issues, we do have the best dining in the SUNY
system as long as you make smart decisions about budgeting your dining.