Now that I’m living off campus, and without a meal plan, it’s my personal mission to eat as little food from the dining hall as possible. Mainly because the food is gross and overpriced. Well it’s not gross, but it’s not exactly tasty and I’m a broke little college student so I’m trying to save money where I can.
Here are tips for avoiding the cafeteria (your wallet, and maybe even your waistline, will thank you!)
- Invest in some tupperware. Tupperware is absolutely key for packing food. I have no less than 3 tupperware containers wedged in my book bag on any given day. If you’re sporting a book bag, flat compact tupperware is best. We won’t talk about plastic baggies because we love the Earth and we’re not going there, right? Right.
Tupperware with built-in utensils is an added bonus, but not if they awkwardly snap in half when you’re using them. Not that I know from experience or anything. RIP blue plastic fork.
- Nutritionally dense foods are your friend. When book bag (or purse/lunch bag for all you working adults) space is at a premium, higher calorie (but healthy!) are important. They will keep you fuller longer and take up less space. Kale is delicious, but it’s not exactly small (but if you want to keep a bundle of kale in your book bag, by all means go for it). Excuse to eat more peanut butter? I think so.
- Avoid runny foods. It’s not cute when your backpack starts to drip. Especially when it ruins that paper you spent all night working on.
- Make sure you pack enough food. This is important. You don’t want the hunger beast causing you to make rash decisions. It’s not pretty, and it makes that junky vending machine look tempting. Don’t fall into it’s trap by packing lots of healthy snacks. I always find it’s better to pack more food and have some left over than to not pack enough and be crabby and hungry.
- Don’t pack stinky food. I have an unnatural love for curry but I will never use curry sauce in a meal I plan to eat on campus. It’s like the tuna sandwich on an airplane, don’t be that person. And stay away from the garlic.
- If you want to pack temperature-sensitive foods, make sure they’re the first thing you’re going to eat. I generally pack something that should be refrigerated for lunch because it will still be cold when I’m ready to eat it, but I pack room temperature foods for dinner. Let’s keep things food-poisioning free.
Do you eat at the dining hall on your campus or cafeteria at your work (if you have one)?
Favorite item from your childhood lunch box? I was a big fan of bagels, I think I ate one everyday for two years in middle school. Little Debby Nutter Butters and Swiss Rolls were the highlight of my elementary school lunch box.