Food for Thought: Exploring Berkeley Meal Plan

February 28, 2023
By AdmissionSight

Food for Thought: Exploring Berkeley Meal Plan

What is the meal plan at Berkeley?

What is the Berkeley meal plan? You will be provided with delicious, nutritional, and sustainable cuisine at UC Berkeley. Cal Dining is a pioneer in sustainable food and business methods and nutrition promotion.

Meal plans provide flexibility, convenience, and value while offering tasty, nutritional, and sustainable cuisine.

Students have access to the following Berkeley meal plans:

Residence Hall Meal Plans

Students with a contract with a residence hall are automatically enrolled in the Blue Plan, including meal swipes and flex dollars.

You can increase your value and freedom by upgrading to the Gold Plan or Ultimate Plan. When you buy Add-On flex bucks, you get more for your money.

Off-Campus Meal Plans

Although apartment rent does not include meal plans, there are possibilities! Meal plans are available semester by semester for students living in off-campus accommodation or university-owned/affiliated flats.

Choose the Advantage Plan, which includes meal swipes and flex dollars, to maximize your time on campus while minimizing the bother of deciding what to eat, or try a similar combo plan like the Blue, Gold, or Ultimate.

Alternatively, you can use your flex dollars to acquire food on campus with a Basic Plan, Premium Plan, or Platinum Plan. When you buy Add-On Flex Dollars, you get more for your money.

Add-On Flex Dollars

Spend less while saving more. Add-On Flex Dollars work like actual dollars and provide you with more options to meet your lifestyle and budget.

In the dining halls, you pay less than cash price with flex dollars—on average, over $5 less for every meal. You can also use your flex bucks to pay for guests at the dining commons at a reduced rate. Cal Dining allows you to add flex dollars online at any time.

What kind of food is included in the Berkeley meal plan?

What foods are included in the Berkeley meal plan? Cal Dining is widely regarded as having one of the greatest dining programs in the country. Berkeley chefs and dietitians are passionate about what’s on your plate. You’ll discover:

  • Fresh, organic ingredients from local farms to your fork
  • Innovative menus highlighting California’s diverse cultures and flavors
  • Locations across campus to dine in, or grab and go
  • Vegan, kosher, halal, gluten-free, and allergen-safe choices

Furthermore, Cal Dining makes every effort to identify components that may cause allergic or other undesirable responses in people who have food allergies or intolerances.

The staff is constantly trained and educated on food allergies and gluten-free diets, and they ensure that gluten-free foods are manufactured without gluten-containing ingredients.

Students eating together in a cafeteria.

However, Berkeley cannot promise that every allergen or gluten source in the food served will be recognized and labeled due to the volume of meals served and items utilized each day, as well as food product modifications from the vendors.

The manufacturers of the commercial foods they use could change the formulation at any time without informing them.

Despite the best efforts to avoid it, cross-contact may occur. Consumers who are concerned about food allergens and gluten should be informed of the hazards. Cal Dining accepts no responsibility for any reactions to food or materials encountered while eating at any Cal Dining facility or catered event.

Clients with life-threatening food allergies who may require the use of an EpiPen should keep one on hand at all times. Cal Dining employees are not trained to give EpiPens and, therefore, cannot supply or administer them.

Moreso, Cal Dining attempts to offer a wide range of food alternatives, including vegetarian and vegan options. Special diets can often be accommodated within the standard offers, though this cannot be guaranteed.

Residents are invited to contact the registered dietician,, to address any unique dietary issues or food allergies. The dietitian will meet with you individually to learn about your nutritional preferences and, if necessary, connect you with the chef in charge of meal preparation.

How much is the meal plan at Berkeley?

How much does the Berkeley meal plan cost? The cost of a meal plan varies, but it is composed of two distinct components:

Meal Swipes

Meal swipes are only valid for the meal plan holder, meaning there is a defined amount of meal swipes to use each week at the eating commons or as a meal equivalency at participating cafes, restaurants, and other locations.

Flex Dollars

A specific number of flex dollars can be used each semester and behave like cash dollars with a falling balance.

Purchase additional flex dollars if you need to get more bang for your buck and complement your meal plans.

  • 110 flex dollars for $100
  • 55 flex dollars for $50

The cost of your meal plan will vary depending on the number of meal swipes and flex dollars that you avail.

How to change your meal plan at Berkeley?

How do you modify your Berkeley meal plan? You can change your meal plan by following these steps:

  1. Enter your UC Berkeley credentials to access your CalCentral account.
  2. Choose the “Housing/Dining” option from the “My Dashboard” menu.
  3. Choose “Change Meal Plan” from the “Meal Plan Selection” menu.
  4. Select the new meal plan you want to use and confirm the change by following the instructions.

Changes to meal plans must be made before the semester or term deadline, as noted on the Housing and Dining page.

You can also contact the UC Berkeley Housing and Dining office to request a meal plan modification. They can be reached by phone, email, or by visiting the Central Housing Office in person.

Female student eating in front of a laptop.

It is important to remember that changing your meal plan may result in additional costs or charges; therefore, before making any changes, it is best to understand the terms and conditions of the new meal plan.

If Berkeley is your first choice for further education, make use of all available facilities, including their excellent meal plan. You may be confident that your nutritional needs will be fulfilled with a range of healthy and delicious options, allowing you to focus on your academic and personal growth.

Furthermore, while the admissions process might be stressful, it is vital to stay focused and demonstrate the unique qualities that make you a good fit for Berkeley is vital. If you put in the effort, work hard, and have a strong desire to learn, you can make your dreams come true at Berkeley.

AdmissionSight has you covered in this aspect. We have a decade of experience guiding students through the difficult admissions process of top universities. Please contact us to schedule your primary consultation.

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