Making the most out of your dining credits

Welcome to the University Dining Hall: Where you can eat all the french fries, macaroni and cheese and hotdogs you want, while still getting fresh fruit and salads. However, there is a large price to pay.

Our meal plans are on the expensive side in comparison to other meal plans in the Big 10: So it is up to you to make the most bang out of your buck. There are several different meal plans to chose from, each with their own price tag and range of meals.

Each time you enter the dining hall, you use 1 “classic meal.” Cafe credits are simply credits with which you can buy food a-la-carte from various dining halls, such as the Ikenberry Commons, Pennsylvania Avenue Residence or Busey-Evans.

The two most common meal plans are the weekly 12 meals and 15 cafe credits or the 10 meal and 45 cafe credits, which is the minimum meal plan undergraduate students living in University housing can sign up for.

Take advantage of the fact that you can change your meal plan until Sept. 20. So spend the first couple of weeks finding out which meal plan fits best with your schedule. If you are on the 10 meal/45 credit plan and finding yourself with tons of extra credits at the end of the week, consider switching to the 12 meal/15 credit plan.

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    Try not to eat out on Green Street often, but save it for a fun night out with friends or to make a celebration even more special. By treating yourself only once-in-a-while and sticking to your meal plan, you won’t have to spend more money on top of all the money already spent on a plan.

    Going out and spending $10 for a meal can really add up and every meal not used is wasted — as meals do not roll over. Cafe credits will roll over, but only up to a certain amount depending on which meal plan you have.

    While you are in the dining hall, make sure to take advantage of whatever extra food you can, as well. For example, bring a water bottle with you and as you are leaving, refill your drink. Signs will be posted in the dining hall that tell you what food you can take out with you. I recommend snagging a piece of fruit!

    Let’s say a friend is visiting: You cannot use a classic meal for a friend, but you can use either cafe credits or extra credits to bring them in. Extra credits can be purchased online and can also be used to do laundry.

    I believe the best part about being on a meal plan is going to specialty restaurants throughout campus. It is a fun way to get out of the rut of eating in the same dining hall, while still using your credits and not spending additional money. Into burgers? Head to the Ike on Fridays to Better Burger, which also can feature root beer floats, cherry limeade, cheese curds and more.

    Oodles is a commonly-loved speciality on Fridays for lunch, where you can choose what you want on pasta and get it cooked right in front of you. Neo Soul night is on Mondays and features southern comfort foods mixed with traditional African foods.

    Megan is a sophomore in Media. She can be reached at [email protected].