Discover Colleges With the Best Food

September 23, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Discover Colleges With the Best Food

Which Colleges Have the Best Food?

Which colleges have the best food? These universities have elevated the bar for college dining globally with their on-campus farmers’ markets, nutrition counseling, diet-friendly selections, locally produced food, and antibiotic-free meats.

Versatility: Fresh, adaptable menu choices improve the eating experience and prevent students from growing tired of the same old meals in the middle of a semester.

Many of the colleges on this list provide themed parties with odd or unusual food selections, including Cajun-style meals, bread bowls, and create-your-own ice cream sundae stations. In some schools, parents are even encouraged to contribute recipes for the dining hall’s rotating menu.

Wellness and nutrition: Both a student’s general health and academic achievement depend on proper nutrition.

Group of students talking and eating in a table.

Colleges with the best food on this list offer lots of access to healthy food, wellness initiatives, and online nutrition calculators. Some even prepare each meal from scratch, frequently using ingredients from nearby farmers’ markets and university farms.

Sustainability: Dining halls in colleges can have a significant negative influence on the environment.

Many of these schools have created cutting-edge strategies to boost sustainability. Recycling, cutting back on the use of harmful cleaning products, and minimizing trash all contribute to resource conservation and environmental protection.

Accessibility: Colleges that make an effort to meet the needs of students with particular dietary requirements were given extra consideration.

Kent State University

Kent State University gives options for people who want to eat less meat, whether they are vegetarians or vegans or not. To make eating meatless convenient, the university offers a call-ahead vegan and vegetarian meal program called Veggie-A-Go-Go.

For individuals following a gluten-free diet, the Prentice Café offers a comparable program, while the Eastway Market & Deli also provides gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan to-go meals. With presents for every occasion, Kent State elevates goody boxes

Students who are ill can get baskets from parents and friends that include tissues, tea, and soup. For students who are concerned about their health, there are additional options like the fruit basket and the healthy snack basket. The take-out containers used by Kent State are entirely biodegradable, and the majority of its produce is procured locally.

Bowdoin University

Bowdoin College sets a high standard for colleges with the best food.

Included in this is Bowdoin’s dedication to sustainability. Students can save money by recycling to-go containers through the school’s eco-container program, and they can also save 5% on drink purchases by bringing their own coffee mugs to the café. A portion of the food served here is cultivated in the organic garden on campus.

Bowdoin aims to make dining enjoyable as well! Throughout each academic year, the college organizes other events for its students, including an annual lobster bake.

Cornell University

Ten all-you-can-eat dining halls at Cornell offer a variety of menu selections, such as make-your-own omelet and pancake stations, ethnic and local cuisine, Kosher stations, and salad bars. Other halls organize similar festivals, such as the October Harvest Feast, Diwali Festival, and a Mardi Gras celebration with Cajun-style cuisine and live music. Each fall, in recognition of Day of the Dead, the Risley Dining Hall hosts “Night at Hogwarts,” a Harry Potter-themed dinner.

About 22% of the food provided at Cornell is grown and produced nearby or in the region. The majority of the dairy products offered in the dining halls come from Cornell’s dairy processing facility.

At Cornell, sustainability is also a priority. To save water and decrease waste, the university provides subsidized coffee to students who bring their own mugs to class.

Georgetown University

The dining hall at Georgetown University offers all-you-can-eat meals that include vegan and vegetarian alternatives, a salad bar, and stations where you may create your own pasta dishes, pizza, sandwiches, burritos, and other meals.

Additionally, Georgetown University Dining sources food from local suppliers and recycles all spent fryer oil in addition to sending 25 tons of garbage to the compost each month. Georgetown uses trayless dining, which annually saves millions of cups of water.

The dining hall serves themed midnight breakfasts during finals week where students are fed a late-night meal by university workers. Grab n’ Go locations and an on-campus food store run by the CORP, a student-owned organization, are two alternatives that are accessible to both students and tourists.

Emory University

Emory University‘s “well-being” food rating makes it simple to consume a balanced diet. Each food option in the dining hall is accompanied by an arrow; the fuller the arrow, the more nutrient-dense the option.

For people with dietary needs, the dining hall offers vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and Kosher alternatives. In order to find out where their favorite food trucks will be each day, students and guests can check the website’s rotating food truck schedule.

Tuesdays throughout the school year feature a farmer’s market with stalls selling artisan salsas, tamales, bread, organic veggies, and gluten-free baked items. The majority of the food served here is sustainably or locally sourced, and the university composts leftover food in addition to recycling.

University of Pennsylvania

UPenn made it to the colleges with the best food as it seems to have thought of everything with its all-you-can-eat food options, grab-and-go meals, on-campus grocery store, and completely Kosher café. Students can take advantage of free nutrition counseling to learn about healthy eating and to get help with issues like eating disorders and allergies.

The university has made several efforts to be more environmentally friendly, such as buying dairy products and ground beef that have not been exposed to rBGH or grown with antibiotics.

All meals are made from scratch by the University of Pennsylvania’s chefs using fresh, regional ingredients. Food waste is composted, and fryer oil is recovered and used as biofuel to power part of the campus food vans.

University of California, Los Angeles

One of the first dining halls in the country with a health-related focus is located at UCLA. Students can get wholesome meals that are locally sourced, unprocessed, organic, and local at the Bruin Plate Residential Restaurant. Covel Commons serves grilled hotdogs, hamburgers, and chicken as well as a pasta station, wood-fired pizza oven, and heartier meals. All dining establishments offer an online menu with nutritional details.

The majority of to-go packaging is recyclable or compostable, food scraps are also composted, beef-free Thursdays significantly reduce the environmental impact of food consumption, and cooking oil is recycled into biodiesel. Significant progress has already been made in the direction of sustainability. The entire campus should deliver zero garbage to landfills by the year 2020.

New York University

New York University demonstrates its dedication to sustainability in a number of ways, including trayless eating, fryer oil recycling, and hydration stations. To prevent excessive use of these resources, university staff members participate in training sessions on energy and water conservation every semester.

There are several vegetarian alternatives available in most eating facilities, and the university features a dining hall that is entirely Kosher and is open Sunday through Friday. A nutrition calculator and complete online menus for six of the restaurants are available on the website. Students can also use the website for professional dietary recommendations.

Boston University

The CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, which allows students to buy a share of seasonal vegetables from a nearby farm throughout the growing season, is also offered at Boston University. Boston University’s visiting chef series night, when visiting restaurants or celebrity chefs contribute a new menu to the dining facilities, shakes things up every semester.

Besides being on the list of colleges with the best food, the institution provides nutrition counseling, which addresses topics like iron deficiency, good meal planning, weight management, and nutrition for exercise. All its four dining halls provide Kosher food, and there is also a halal meal program available.

Throughout the academic year, the Late Night Kitchen is open until 11 p.m. on Mondays through Wednesdays and until 1 a.m. on Thursdays through Saturdays.

The dining service offers a flu meal program to persuade students to stay home while sick. Students can order a package online, and student volunteers will then deliver it to the buyer.

The majority of the pork, beef, turkey, and rotisserie chicken offered here is sourced locally and was raised humanely.

Washington University

The Environmental Protection Agency honored Washington University in 2014 for turning wasted fryer oil into biofuel, which powers campus delivery trucks. For on-the-go lunches, the institution also supplies reusable plates and compostable or recyclable containers, significantly lowering the trash that is often produced by student dining. Meals are offered for vegetarian, Kosher, halal, and allergen-free diets, and meat and produce are bought from nearby vendors.

There are many on-campus eateries, dining halls, and fast stops available at the institution, including the Paws & Go market, which serves fresh food and grab-and-go meals.

Which Colleges Have the Best Dining Halls?

One of the most basic yet undervalued pleasures of college life is dining out with friends and classmates. One of the best methods to guarantee that your mind stays sharp amid all the studying you’re doing during the semester is to refuel on delectable food (that you didn’t have to create).

Two students eating in the dining hall.

It also comes as no surprise given how much of the day is devoted to mealtimes that the college experience may be made or broken by the food scene. After learning about colleges with the best food, let’s now check out which colleges have the best dining halls.

Flagler College (St. Augustine, Florida)

The Spanish, French, and English architectural styles are everywhere in St. Augustine, Florida, the longest continuously inhabited European-founded city in the United States. Presidents Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and Mark Twain were among the notable visitors to the Ponce de Leon Hotel, which Standard Oil co-founder Henry M. Flagler erected in the neighborhood in 1888. The storied hotel was converted into the brand-new Flagler College in 1968, which explains why the institution has such an elaborate dining room.

Pomona College (Claremont, California)

When you go inside Pomona College’s Frary Dining Hall, the first thing you’ll see is a large Prometheus fresco on the far wall. Mexican muralist Jose Clemente Orozco created the image of the naked guy holding up the room’s arching ceiling.

Cornell University (Ithaca, New York)

Risley Dining Room is the name of the dining hall that Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, based on the dining hall of Christ Church. Numerous similar design features may be seen, such as dark wood trusses and windows with round tops.

University of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)

Cathey Dining Hall on the south campus of UChicago has several amazing architectural characteristics, such as dark wood ceilings with striking trusses, candle-type chandeliers, and wood wainscoting.

Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut)

The Commons Dining Hall is especially magnificent, while Yale has many lovely dining halls (each of its 14 residential colleges has its own dining area). The large area serves as a gathering place for all Yale employees, including faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students.

What Is A Meal Plan In College?

What is a meal plan in college? You can use prepaid accounts to access dining facilities on campus if you have a college meal plan. You are allowed a specified number of meals per week under this plan at dining halls and cafes on campus.

Since entire meals cannot be prepared in dorm rooms, several institutions require students who reside on campus to purchase a plan. An annual expenditure of $3,000–5,500 is common for a food plan. For most dietary requirements, plan options include 1-3 meals each day.

Common Questions Regarding Meal Plans

Can leftover meals be carried over to the following week or semester?

In most institutions today, the meal plan includes a “swipe system.” That makes it simpler for some schools to permit pupils to carry over any uneaten meals from one week to the next until all meals have been consumed.

Two students using a gadget while lounging in the grass.

Other institutions, such as Texas A&M, do not permit carryover but instead turn leftover meals into a type of campus money. Many institutions do not permit students to carry over their meals from one semester to the next. It is therefore best that you learn about the exclusions in your particular campus plan.

Are meal plans covered by financial aid?

The numerous costs of attending a university can be covered by financial help. Thankfully, meal plans are included in the price of attending college along with annual tuition, additional fees, and housing. This implies that you may use a portion of your financial aid dollars to pay for the price of the meal plan you choose.

Can I alter my college food plan whenever I want?

Institutional policies on college meal plans differ. The majority of plans give you free rein to adjust your “swipe” selections up to a particular date.

Female student smiling at the camera while sitting.

How Can I Survive Without A Meal Plan?

No meal plan? No issue. Most first-year students purchase meal plans because they are convenient, particularly when they are still getting used to college life. Your freshman year is considerably easier when you don’t have to worry about feeding yourself, which is crucial because you are still learning how to combine your coursework, extracurricular activities, and social life.

While colleges with the best food offer convenience through meal plans thus, you might wonder “How can I survive without a meal plan?”. Here are the things that you could do to still eat well in college:

The Microwave Is Now Your Closest Companion.

When you are short on time and your stomach is growling, microwavable meals will save your life. Of course, microwaves may be used for more than just reheating prepared food. Try preparing this three-course meal in your microwave instead.

Practice Cooking.

You know you must learn eventually, don’t you? Cooking for yourself is healthier and significantly less expensive than dining in the dining halls.

Cook Only Once A Week, Not Every Day.

Try setting aside some time on the weekends to prepare all of your meals for the coming week if you are too busy during the week to cook. To make it simple to grab and go on your way to class or reheat your dinner later in the week, store your meals in a container.

Share Dinner With Your Buddies.

Colleges with the best food make meals enjoyable for students eating together in dining halls. You can also do the same in your dorms! Together with your pals, plan a potluck. It’s a wonderful way to meet new people while sharing cooking advice with your pals.

Buy In Bulk The Foods You Consume Frequently.

You’ll not only save money by doing this, but you’ll also avoid running out of your essentials before you can visit the grocery store again.

Try Not To Stock Up On Perishables.

Especially those that you don’t consume frequently. Fresh produce and dairy products typically spoil the quickest, so buy them in limited amounts unless you plan to consume them frequently.

Spend Less Money When Dining Out.

On specific days of the week, many restaurants offer special promotions, and some even offer student discounts. Also, services like Groupon make it simple to find coupons and savings online.

Young man eating a pizza with friends.

When choosing a college, the food options can be a deal breaker for some prospective students. You may enjoy dining in colleges with the best food or choose not to enroll in meal plans. Either way, your college experience can be valuable and exciting with those people you eat with. Also, choosing the right college for you will be the key to fulfilling college life.

AdmissionSight has more than 10 years of experience in college admissions. If you would want assistance in choosing a school and boosting your application, AdmissionSight is available to help. Feel free to schedule an appointment for an initial consultation.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.