Food Hacks for College Campus Life

Macmillan Employee
Macmillan Employee
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Survive and thrive!


Food in college is important for one's vitality but also can be expensive, especially if you rely on take-out to supply your nutrients for the day. Luckily, I found some simple tricks to help a college student survive and thrive with food.

Instapot Easy Homemade Meals

An easy way to combat the price of food is to cook for yourself. Yes, this idea may be obvious to those who are the next Alton Brown, but it is beyond intimidating if you're like me and could burn water. A huge help for those on either end of the spectrum is to buy an Instapot cooker. This easy pressure cooker-like device is is quick to use and most dishes can be made in one pot with little hassle. They usually include a detailed recipe book that walks through how to make simple meals, and hundreds more can be found with a simple tool known as Google.

Free Club Meeting Food

If you don't have access to a kitchen, the easiest free food trick is to attend school club meetings. Many school clubs that take place around dinner time offer food for the attendees. For most of these meetings, you don't need to be an official member of the club, you just need to be at the meeting before it runs out. If you show up at the very end of a big meeting, some clubs will shove all their leftovers in your hands to avoid letting it go to waste.

Using Meal Swipes to Your Advantage

At some schools, like NYU, freshmen are required to buy meal plans that expire at the end of each semester. Many students try to get rid of their meals so they don't go to waste and this is where your empty stomach comes in handy. These schools sometimes have a "give a meal, get a friend" programs, where students with extra meals are paired with students and for the low price of a meal with a stranger. The benefits are you get a free meal and they get to know their extra meal is donated to a good cause (you). Plus you may make a friend through the program (but let's be honest, you're only here for the food).

Getting Your Coffee Fix

Finally, though not technically food, coffee is often the pipe that drains student's wallets by stopping at Starbucks every morning. If you are one of those people who cannot be classified as human until your first cuppa joe, you may want to invest in a coffee machine or research free coffee options on campus like at the visitor's centers. If that still doesn't work then there are a few coffee shops that actually have subscription memberships. At Fair Folks and a Goat or CUPS, you can pay a flat rate each month to get unlimited coffee, tea, or other beverages.

nalini-rajan-cq-authors-community-headshot.pngWRITTEN BY
Nalini Rajan
New York University

Hello! My name is Nalini, but most people call me Lena. 
I graduated from New York University's College of Arts and Sciences in May of 2018 with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, as well as Minors in both Computer Science and in Web Programming and Applications (an absurdly long title). I was an intern at Macmillan Learning as the Learning Solutions Intern within the Customer Experience department (also an absurdly long title). I am now a Junior Product Support Analyst for Macmillan Learning (a slightly shorter title).