4 Dining Plan Problems–and How to Solve Them

Girl with a plate of pizza

The problem: you have a morning class, and can’t make yourself get up even earlier to walk to a dining hall for breakfast.

We’ve all been there: the alarm goes off, and every bone in your body is begging you not to get up. You lay there for ten minutes, debating whether you’d rather suck it up and get out of bed or skip breakfast in favor of some glorious SLEEP. Sleep wins. This is, initially, a great idea—until you’re halfway into your morning class and ready to inhale any granola bar within a ten-foot radius of your seat. Also, wow, where’d that headache come from?

The solution: At Union Street Center, Eigenmann, McNutt, Collins, and Willkie, you’ll find C-stores—mini grocery stores chock full of breakfast bars, fresh fruit, yogurt, granola, and peanut butter. Some of them even sell loaves of bread and boxes of cereal. Grab a box of granola bars or some instant oatmeal to keep in your room, and you’re set for the week—no dining hall treks required.

Bonus: your academic building might just have some food options inside of it. IU offers a wide variety of campus cafés, in buildings from Ballantine to Jordan and Hodge Halls.

The problem: you want to eat healthy, but what’s actually…in that lasagna?

When you’re not the one making your food, it’s hard to keep track of exactly what you’re putting into your body. Enter: NetNutrition, an online tool from One.IU that lists the ingredients and nutrition facts of every food item offered on campus. It even lets you combine ingredients to create a customized nutrition label—in case you’ve ever, say, wondered about the exact nutritional profile of your go-to deli sandwich.

The problem: you’re vegan / vegetarian / cold-pressed-green-juice-only.

The good news: IU delivers. (Okay, except maybe not on that last one.) As a vegetarian myself, I’ve found a multitude of options all over campus: Wells Library and Goodbody Eateries have killer veggie burgers, many dining halls offer vegan Grab-N-Go sandwiches, and Collins is home to a nightly buffet chock full of plant-based options.

When in doubt, check out IU’s nutritional consultation services. You’re entitled to a free hour-long appointment with a nutritionist each semester—and they can help you plan out the best meals for your specific needs.

The problem: it’s a weekend or a holiday, dining halls are closed, and you’ve already spent a concerning amount of money on takeout this month.  

Did somebody say C-stores again? Oh, yeah, it was me. All this takes is a little foresight: stop by your nearest C-Store, load up on some shelf-stable dinner options, and head on your merry way. On that random Sunday night when your stomach and wallet are equally empty, you’ll have a variety of great options in your very own room.

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