Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


Advertisement
Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



Advertisement

Advertisement
Queering The Map shows queer love on campus
‘You know absolutely nothing’: Students frustrated with NU’s handling of academic integrity cases
NU’s Summer Class Schedule offers flexibility, opportunities for academic advancement
Community awards, advocacy headline Evanston’s fifth annual Juneteenth parade
Race Against Hate: Ricky Byrdsong’s Legacy
The Week Ahead, June 17-23: Juneteenth, Summer Solstice and Pride Celebrations in Chicagoland
Evanston Environment Board drops fossil fuels divestment, recommends updates to leaf blower ordinance
Advertisement
Perry: A little humility goes a long way

Brew, Hou, Leung, Pandey: On being scared to tweet and the pressure to market yourself as a student journalist

June 4, 2024

Haner: A love letter to the multimedia room

June 4, 2024

Derrick Gragg appointed as Northwestern’s vice president for athletic strategy, search for new athletic director begins

Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Honda Sport Award

June 13, 2024

Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Tewaaraton Award

May 30, 2024

Advertisement

The secret (and short) lives of cicadas on campus

NU Declassified: Prof. Barbara Butts teaches leadership through stage management

Everything Evanston: Behind the boba in downtown Evanston

Meal plans: Weighing your different on-campus options

When it comes to food at Northwestern, Evanston’s title as the “Dining Capital of the North Shore” doesn’t quite extend to the dining halls at NU. But the good news is it’s probably a lot better than your high school cafeteria food.

NU requires all students living on campus to be on a meal plan, so eating at dining halls is a necessary evil. Luckily, knowing a few facts about the meal system can make your college dining experience so much better.

Seek and ye shall find

Throughout Fall Quarter, explore your different options for dining, even if it means making a little trek. Just because you have a dining hall in your dorm doesn’t mean you should eat there forever. If you have classes on the opposite of campus around lunch time, try the dining halls there. Ask friends to come and venture with you to a new place for dinner. My friends and I developed traditions freshman year, like going to Foster-Walker Complex every Thursday for burrito night or going to Willard Residential College every Friday. It was a wonderful break from having Hinman seven days a week. It’s best to do this during the fall, so that come winter, when you don’t want to venture outside farther than the closest dining hall, you won’t already be sick of the food there.

Aside from dining halls, there are also a variety of retail locations throughout campus. They’re excellent for getting late-night snacks when you’re up studying, but they also serve sandwiches and pre-made sushi if you need lunch to go. Norris University Center also has a lot of options; aside from Sbarro, sushi and crepes, Willie’s Food Court serves the best chicken fingers, pretty good stir fry and delicious burritos.

Also, I highly recommend looking at the nuCuisine website. Familiarize yourself with the dining hall hours so you can plan meal times into your schedule. They also post each week’s menus for all the dining halls on the website, so you can look at your different options, especially once you figure out what you like and don’t like.

Knowing the meal plans will double your food options

The meal plan system used to be the bane of existence for many students. It was too pricey, too complicated and too confusing. But efforts by the Associated Student Government and the University resulted in a simplified meal plan system, which will take effect next fall. There are five different options, and you can read up on all the nitty gritty details on nuCuisine, but here’s what you need to know in a nutshell:

Every freshman will automatically be enrolled in the Weekly 13 plan. You’ll get 13 meals a week. Initially, this doesn’t seem like a lot of food, but some of you will realize that you’ll struggle to meet those 13 meals a week. So, I strongly recommend the Weekly 14 plan. The key words in this plan are “meal equivalency.” This means that instead of being limited to the dining halls, you can trade in a meal for a certain number of points at retail locations, such as Lisa’s Cafe and Norris.

This is particularly helpful for those people who can’t find time in between classes and activities to sit down at a dining hall and eat without scarfing down your food, risking choking and indigestion. Every week, you can choose to spend three of your meals at these retail locations. The amount your meal equates to varies throughout the day. It costs a little bit more than the Weekly 13 plan, but in my opinion, the flexibility is worth it.

So during your downtime between now and September, take some time to read the nuCuisine website and get to know the meal plans. Then, try out the Weekly 13 for a week or two – there is a deadline a few weeks into the quarter for changing your meal plans – and if it’s not working out for your schedule, find something that does.

There’s something for everyone

Yes, even if you are allergic to five of the six basic food groups, you can still get your daily sustenance at dining halls. They’re pretty understanding about diet restrictions and food allergies, and for those with an overly sensitive appetite, the staff can even arrange to prepare custom meals based on your dietary needs.

But even if you’re just picky, you’ll always have options. You’ll quickly realize that pizza and paninis can be your best friends, salad is always there for those avoiding meat, and when worse comes to worst, you can always count on cereal.

Here’s the bottom line: The food isn’t horrible. I can’t say I’m not glad to move off-campus and cook my own meals now, but I survived two years on dining hall food. You can always look forward to mom’s home cooking during breaks, and for those nights when you really don’t want to eat your fifth plate of pasta in one week, there are so many amazing places to eat out in Evanston.

[email protected]

Activate Search
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Meal plans: Weighing your different on-campus options