For some prospective students, the dining experience can be a deal breaker when selecting an alma mater. Don’t worry; we’ve got your back! From on-campus farmers’ markets to nutrition counseling, diet-friendly options, locally-sourced produce and antibiotic-free meats, these schools have raised the bar for college dining everywhere.
Versatility: New and versatile options enhance the dining experience, keeping students from becoming bored of the same old meals mid-semester. Many of the colleges on this list offer themed events with unique or abnormal food options, such as Cajun-style meals, bread bowls, and build-your-own ice cream sundaes. Some schools even invite parents to submit recipes for consideration in the dining hall’s rotating menu.
Nutrition and Wellness: Nutrition is crucial to a student’s overall health and academic performance. This list includes schools that provide online nutrition calculators, wellness programs, and plenty of access to healthy meals. Some even create each meal from scratch, often using produce and herbs from local vendors or on-campus farms and gardens!
Sustainability: The environmental impact of college dining facilities can be tremendous. Many of these schools have developed innovative ways to improve sustainability. Minimizing waste, reducing the use of toxic cleaning products and recycling can help to preserve our resources and save our planet.
Accessibility: Special consideration was given to colleges that make an effort to accommodate for special dietary needs.
23. Brown University
From the salad and vegan bars at Verney-Wooley (V-Dub) to the Ivy Room’s exclusively vegetarian evening menu, there are plenty of options to choose from for vegans and vegetarians alike. Those with kosher and halal diets can purchase diet-specific meal plans. Menu ingredients are listed on the website and students can use the online meal planner to view calories, sodium, fat, fiber and vitamins, among other things. Brown Dining actively purchases from local farms and hosts a farmers’ market on campus. The to-go program uses compostable containers, and cups and Brown offers discounted beverage prices to students who bring reusable mugs.
Brown Dining actively purchases from local farms and hosts a farmers’ market on campus. The to-go program uses compostable containers, and cups and Brown offers discounted beverage prices to students who bring reusable mugs.
- You can learn more about Brown University dining options here
7. UCLA - The University of California: Los Angeles
UCLA is home to one of the first health-themed dining halls in the United States. The Bruin Plate Residential Restaurant serves local, unprocessed, organic and nutritious meals to students. For those looking for heartier meals, Covel Commons offers a pasta station, wood-fired pizza oven and grilled hotdogs, burgers and chicken. An online menu containing nutrition information is available for all dining facilities. Much progress has already been made toward sustainability; most to-go packaging is compostable or recyclable, food scraps are similarly composted, beef-less Thursdays significantly reduce the environmental impact of food consumption, and cooking oil is recycled into biodiesel.
By 2020, the goal is for the entire campus to send zero waste to landfills.
- You can learn more about UCLA's dining options here
Katie is a freelance writer based out of Kansas City. She is an avid traveler and loves discovering new places to explore. Katie believes that the experience is the most important aspect of travel. She enjoys running around new cities, exploring nature and meeting new people. She has written for a number of companies, including Elite Daily, and College Rank and Theology Degrees on a number of topics including food and travel.