News Date: 
Monday, January 26, 2015

Source: Red & Black

Mon Jan 26, 2015.

Halle Hammond

UGA meal plan includes unlimited access to the campus’ five dining halls from the Niche on the Health Science campus, notorious for its gelato and pizza, to the Village Summit on East Campus, praised for its smoothies.

Being on a meal plan offers students the opportunity to try a variety of foods that they might not try otherwise as well as making available the foods rich in vitamins and minerals that are necessary for a student to stay healthy and focused. The meal plan encourages students to take advantage healthy foods that will spike in their price as soon as the meal plan contract is expired.

 

Salad and Fresh Vegetables

The Village Summit dining hall on east campus has a different featured salad every day, like the Asian salmon salad on Mondays, pear and blue cheese fall salad on Wednesdays and ranch and steak salad on Fridays. In addition to Village Summit’s prepared options, every dining hall from the Niche to Bolton has a salad bar with a variety of greens, toppings and dressings available for any student on a meal plan to take advantage of.

Even beyond the salad bar, it is difficult for students to spend their grocery allowance on uncanned, fresh vegetables that can be pricy per pound to make side dishes or smoothies.

 

Guacamole/Avocados

When springtime rolls around, people go crazy for avocados. They cut them up to put on their sandwiches or in their salads, and they mix it up with pico de gallo and cilantro to make guacamole. Village Summit's Tuesday shrimp and avocado salad, Bolton's taco station and O-House dining hall's O'Hacienda station make it easier for students on meal plan to get their avocado fix without breaking their budgets at the grocery store or at Chipotle.

 

Lean Meat and Seafood

Lean meat and seafood offer both physical and mental health benefits for often malnourished college students. Lean meats help students keep their metabolisms going to stay focused throughout the school day, and fish contains vitamins and oils that can help fight depression, an issue that students are often susceptible to during their college years. In addition to the health benefits, meats and seafoods are already prepared.

 

Fresh Fruit and Smoothies

In addition to a full salad bar, students on meal plan also have a variety of fresh fruits available to enhance their diets. Apples, oranges and bananas are all available at almost every dining hall on any given day, and some fruits, like pears and strawberries, are included in featured salads at the Village Summit. In addition, the Village Summit has a popular smoothie bar for low-calorie meal replacement options or healthy dessert options in a variety of flavors.

 

Beverages

While sodas are cheap and accessible in the both the dining halls and the grocery stores, the dining halls make other, healthier drink options available when students choose to stray from just water. Dining halls make both regular and chocolate milk and soy milk available to students for a calcium-filled breakfast option, as well as 100 percent fruit juices. In addition, coffees and Mighty Leaf brand teas are available. Mighty Leaf teas can cost just under $10 for a single box in a grocery store, and coffee prices also add up over the semester as students fight sleep to get their assignments completed. O-House features a full coffee bar with customizable orders and a variety of coffee blends. It is far cheaper and often more convenient for a student to get their caffeine fix at O-House than at Jittery Joe’s or Starbucks.

 

Meal plan costs $1,877.00 per semester for a five-day plan, and $1978.00 per semester for a seven-day plan. At the end of the day, whether a student is on meal plan or on their own grocery budget, what he or she chooses to eat is a choice. However, when convenience, variety and health benefits are factored into the equation the meal plan makes choosing easier and often times cheaper. Students paying the money for meal plan should take full advantage of their options.