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Colleges With the Best Dining Halls


When considering which college to attend, students prioritize different factors. Perhaps one of the most underestimated factors is how well the student would like eating on campus. This is especially true at colleges and universities that require students to purchase a meal plan. After all, who wants to pay thousands of dollars for food that they hate? Having access to quality food that you enjoy eating is also important if you plan to attend a school in a remote area, where there are not a lot of outside food options. Yet, knowing that food will be an important part of your life during your college years, how can you tell which campuses have the best food options? There are a number of criteria that you can consider.

When considering which schools have the best food and dining hall options, there are several areas that you will want to consider. First, some students have dietary preferences or dietary requirements that must be met. For example, if you are a vegetarian, you will want to make sure that the dining hall options offer a variety of non-animal based protein, veggies, and fruit. However, if you have a severe nut allergy, you may need to ask about what food options are made with non-nut ingredients and are guaranteed not to have come into contact with any nut sources.

Secondly, you want to make sure that there are a variety of options. At smaller schools, there may be only one or two dining halls that offer the same meals day in and day out. Since eating healthy involves eating a variety of foods, you will want to be certain that your nutritional needs are being met. Make sure you find out which dining halls have food choices that appeal to you and know how far they are from your classes and where your residence hall would be located. Larger campuses might offer a lot of variety, but you might have to take a bus or walk a long way to reach a dining hall that meets your needs.

Thirdly, it is important to look at the hours of operation of the dining hall. College is an incredibly busy time for students. Regardless of whether you are a premed student, a nursing student, a teacher in training, or some other major, there are likely some days that you will have a full day with no breaks. What happens if you are unable to make it to the dining hall during their open hours? On some campuses, this means that you are unable to eat. Other campuses offer students the option to pick up a grab and go meal, but you will likely have little input into the type of food that you receive.

Fourthly, you will want to consider the quality of the food. Is the food something that you would enjoy eating? If not, you might be more prone to skip meals and waste hard earned money on a meal plan that you are not using. Lastly, you might want to know more about how sustainable or “green” eating on campus is since many people are trying to decrease the amount of waste that they create. Based on these five areas, the ten schools below provide a wonderful starting point for colleges that have the best campus food.

The list below is not in any order. All of these schools have been lauded for having some of the best college food by several different sources. In addition to the name of the school and its location, you can also read some information about why the college is considered to have good food on campus, some history about the school, how much it costs to attend the university, and some majors that are available at the institution.

Cornell University

Cornell University was founded in 1865 and it is located in Ithaca, NY. It is considered to be one of the few Ivy League universities in the United States. Cornell has been known for having a student body that is active in civil rights and other social justice issues for decades. Additionally, students who graduate tend to remain highly involved with the university. The tuition at Cornell university depends on whether you are considered an in-state or out-of-state resident. Residents of NY pay $35,483 per year while non-NY-residents pay $52,853 per year. Additional information related to the cost of attending Cornell University can be found here. The most popular majors at Cornell include engineering, management, and social science related fields.

Why is Cornell University Considered to Have the Best College Food?

Cornell University has made an effort to increase the amount of locally grown food that it purchases. Currently, nearly 1/5 of the total food is bought from local sources. Additionally, it has its own dairy processing plant and the products that are produced here are served in the dining locations on campus. Students can eat as much as they please in buffet style dining halls. Students get to celebrate themed meals, including one based on the Harry Potter books. The university offers flexible meals plans, which include summer only meal plans, traditional meal plans, and meal plans for all you can eat dining halls. You can request meals to go if you are unable to attend a regularly scheduled meal. Additionally, you can ask for a sick tray if you aren’t feeling well enough to go to the dining hall. Additional information about the meal plans at Cornell University is available here. Be sure to check out this website as well for information about what type of food is served at each location around campus.

Emory University

Emory University is a private school that was founded in 1836. It is located in the town of Oxford, which is in Georgia. It currently costs around $65,000 to attend Emory University for one year. Although the university offers many choices of majors, business, biology, and economics are among the most popular major choices.

During the Civil War, Emory University had to shut down the university and students fought on the Confederate side of the Civil War.

Why is Emory University Considered to Have the Best College Food?

In order to help students avoid the freshmen 15, and to make healthy food choices, Emory University has adopted a “well-being” rating to rank the nutrient value of student meals. You can look on the website prior to heading out to grab a bite to eat to see whether what meal options are available. This website also shows which food trucks will be around campus on which days. Students who have dietary restrictions (i.e., kosher, vegan, gluten-free) are certain to find meals at every time of day that will fit with their lifestyle. To top it off, students can stock up on organic fruits and veggies during the weekly farmer’s market held at the university. Additional information about Emory’s meal plans and dining locations can be found here.

Stanford University

Stanford University is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. It was founded in 1891 and it can be found in Palo Alto, California. Stanford University, before becoming the university it is today, was a fully functioning farm. The most popular majors at Stanford are biology, English, and engineering. The current cost of attending Stanford University is nearly $46,000 per year.

Why is Stanford University Considered to Have the Best College Food?

Like many restaurants in California, the dining options that are available at Stanford University cater to individuals who choose to eat healthy. There are more than 30 dining choices available at Stanford University and all of these of these offer vegan and/or vegetarian meal options. Stanford helps students eat healthy by clearly labelling food. Additionally, if you have a peanut allergy, you will not find a friendlier college than Stanford. In fact, is has one dining hall (known as Ricker) that is completely peanut-free. Thus, students with peanut allergies can eat without worrying about having a bad reaction to contaminated food. Students have access to a wide variety of food choices, such as Italian, Thai, Smoothies, Food Trucks, and much more! You can read about these different locations at this link. Meal plans are available for undergrads, graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and staff. Additional information about meal plan options is available here.

Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech was founded in 1944. It is a public research university and it can be found in Blacksburg, VA. The school began primarily as a military school that enrolled males. However, it is not one of the foremost technical institutions in the nation. The university entered a darker period of its history on April 16, 2007 when a Virginia Tech student held many faculty, staff, and students hostage, which resulted in the death of 32 people. This massacre shed light on the issues of campus safety and mental health of students and led to reform in both areas. Since Virginia Tech is a public institution, it is much cheaper to attend if you are an in-state student than if you are coming from another state. The current in-state tuition is $13,230 while the out-of-state rate is $31,014. Additional information about cost of attending this institution can be found here. The most popular majors for students here include architecture, general engineering, business, and biosciences.

Why is Virginia Tech Considered to Have the Best College Food?

Virginia Tech is one of the universities that has placed a strong emphasis on sustainable eating. In an effort to reduce food waste, it using composting, food diversion, and even recycling. Additionally, students can check a menu online to see which food offerings will meet their dietary needs. The daily menu, along with information about the different eating locations, can be found here. Virginia Tech even grows much of its own produce on a small farm. The university is also committed to buying foods from the local community, when possible.

Pitzer College

Pitzer College was founded in 1963. It is a private liberal arts college that can be found in Claremont, CA. The university was originally only open to women. Pitzer College places a strong emphasis on multi-disciplinary studies, and many of the 40 majors offered here cross into more than area area of study. Some of the most popular majors at the university include psychology, media studies, and international studies.

Why is Pitzer College Considered to Have the Best College Food?

Pitzer College is known for its ability to make healthy and delicious meals. In addition, it has made a promise to use sustainable ingredients whenever possible. Pitzer College offers students the option of two different meal plans of the ability to add Claremont Cash to use as flex dollars. Students can choose to each at one of the following four on-campus eateries: The Grove House, The Shakedown Café, McConnell Bistro, or the Pit-Stop Café. The Shakedown Café is run entirely by students. Some restaurants show their menus online so students can search for which meal they want before arriving at the location. Most meals offer students options that include lean meat or meat-substitutes, vegetarian options, or meal options that do not have gluten. The college promotes protections for farmworkers by supporting the Equitable Food Initiative. Additionally, it donates excess food to community organizations that aim to relieve hunger. When it is possible (given growing conditions and other factors) the university purchases food through local channels. If you want to read more about the meal plans or the dining options available at Pitzer College, be sure to head to this website.

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University was founded in 1873. This private research institution is located in Nashville, TN. The university is home to the only Level I trauma center in the middle portion of TN. Additionally, the university is known as one of the most diverse universities in the nation. Tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year at Vanderbilt is $46,500, not including room and board. Additional information about costs associated with attending this institution can be found here. The most popular majors at Vanderbilt include political science, neuroscience, and economics.

Why is Vanderbilt University Considered to Have the Best College Food?

Vanderbilt has meal plans that fit every need. These meals plans (read more about them here) can be used at any one of the 22 campus dining locations. If you are not sure what you are in the mood for, simply check out the dining menu page, located here. This menu shows which foods are considered vegan and vegetarian. You can read more about what types of food are served at each location, using this link. Vanderbilt even has a Facebook page for its dining services, so that you can keep yourself updated about themed dining nights and other unique events. The university offers a variety of meal options, so you won’t be forced to eat the same meal frequently. There is also a nutrition calculator online that enables you to track your eating habits.

Yale University

Yale University was founded in 1701. It is located in New Haven, CT. It is considered to be one of the Ivy League universities. Yale student housing aims to foster a sense of community among its residents, by using residential colleges instead of traditional dorms. Yale University has a spotty town-gown relationship with New Haven, since the university is not required to pay any property taxes. Many presidents and leaders, such as George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Clinton, attended Yale University. The current annual cost of tuition for undergraduates is $51,400, not including room and board. Additional information about the costs associated with attending Yale can be found here. The most common majors at Yale include history, molecular biology, political science, and economics.

Why is Yale University Considered to Have the Best College Food?

Yale University also offers a vegan and vegetarian meal during each dining period. Students can check out an online menu prior to heading to the dining hall so that they can determine which meals will fit with their dietary preferences. In fact, complete nutrition information, allergens, and ingredients are available online. Yale University promotes sustainable and nutritious eating habits. In fact, they only offer hormone-free yogurt, and meet that has no antibiotics or hormones. Additionally, only cage-free eggs are used. If you will be unable to attend one of the meals, you can opt to order a to-go meal online and you will receive a packed meal. Additional information about meal plans and dining halls can be found here.

New York University

NYU was founded in 1831 and it is located in New York City, NY. For 100 years, NYU has been one of the largest universities in the nation. The university maintains campuses and learning centers in many counties, including Spain, Italy, France, and Australia. The most popular majors at NYU include business, visual and performing arts, humanities, and marketing. The current tuition for attending NYU is $50,464 for the 2017-2018 academic year. Additional information about the costs associated with attending NYU can be found here.

Why is NYU Considered to Have the Best College Food?

The university maintains a commitment to making healthy meals that meet a variety of dietary needs. This includes a dining hall that is 100% kosher, vegetarian options at many locations, and many locations to grab a quick bit to eat. You can learn more about each of the dining locations, as well as obtain information about the dining plans, by going to this site. As part of an effort to increase sustainability, the university offers a trayless dining experience, actively conserves water, and offers stations where you can refill your reusable water bottle.

Bowdoin College

Bowdoin College was founded in 1794. The college is located in Brunswick, Maine. It is considered to be a private college with an emphasis on a liberal arts education. Prominent philosophers, such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, have graduated from Bowdoin. Additionally, one of the cofounders of the Mayo Clinic received his degree from Bowdoin. One of the most recent happenings was that students who attend Bowdoin no longer have to take out loans; rather the college offers them grants instead so that they can pursue their true passion without regard to future earning potential. The current cost of tuition at Bowdoin is $51,344 per academic year. Additional information about the cost of attendance can be found here. The most popular majors at Bowdoin are biology, political science, math, and economics.

Why is Bowdoin College Considered to Have the Best College Food?

This college is the perfect choice for students who are eco-friendly. Students who bring their own containers save on their food purchases. In addition, if you bring a refillable mug or cup, you can get a 5% reduction on the cost of your daily coffee. One of the most popular food days of the year is the annual Lobster Bake. Some of the fruits and vegetables that are offered in the dining halls are grown on campus, using organic farming methods. Additional information about the meal plans, dining hall locations, dining hall hours, and sustainability efforts can be found here.

Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw State University was founded in 1963. It is a public university that is located in Kennesaw, GA. The university began as a junior college and has changed its name six different times. It now offers a number of doctoral programs, which occurred after the university merged with the University System of the State of Georgia. It costs $4,300 for students from GA to attend the university while out-of-state students pay $38,000. You can read more about fees at this website.

Why is Kennesaw State University Considered to Have the Best College Food?

Nearly one fifth of the produce used at KSU is grown on campus. Additionally, mushrooms, lettuce, and herbs are grown using hydroponic techniques. Students who have dietary restrictions (i.e., vegan or gluten intolerance) are sure to find a meal that they can consume at eat dining hall. The university uses a farm-to-table model of feeding students and aims to reduce waster through a variety of efforts. The university offers meal plans for students, faculty, and staff, which can be found here.

By | 2017-08-14T10:08:20+00:00 August 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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