Meal Plans: Understanding and Utilizing


Hello, college students! And a special hello to my fellow Mustangs at Cal Poly. This one’s for you!

Freshmen – you got a meal plan? Yes, I know you do. I also know you’ve complained at least once about having to deal with it this year. If you didn’t see my video, here are some opinions of students.

  • Madi Ortiz (Class of 2018, Animal Science Major): “For the level of, like, how well known this school is, the food isn’t as good as it should be for a top-notch school.” She finds it “easier to use plus dollars” because she can just grab the number of things she wants rather than worrying about purchasing enough items to add up the amount given on a certain meal-swipe.
  • Sameer Jawale (Class of 2018, Computer Engineering): “I, myself, find campus food boring form time to time and would be easily satisfied with off-campus food or a home-cooked meal.” He thinks that the main reason students don’t use their meal plan to its full potential (one of the issues that led me to create this blog) is because of “the lack of variety and quality in the food they serve on campus.”

It’s okay, I have complained, too and that’s why I’m creating a little guide that will help us all get the most out of our meal plans!

The Break-down
First, let’s break them all down. For those of us in PCV and Cerro Vista, we have one that’s a little different from the dorms.

  1. Platinum  – 14 meal credits + 300 plus dollars
  2. Flexibility – 12 meal credits + 350 plus dollars
  3. Freedom – 8 meal credits + 600 plus dollars
  4. Apt Life – 8 meal credits + 275 plus dollars

If you’re confused, check out this helpful brochure.

Basically, meal credits are basically like gift cards – just grab however many items you want as long as it doesn’t go over the amount of money you get per meal: $8.75 for breakfast, $9.00 for lunch, $10.75 for dinner, and $9.00 for late-night. Plus dollars are like debit cards – you can use them at places on campus like Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Subway, the Avenue, and both of the markets (mini, super-spendy grocery stores). All clear? Cool.

So, I know it can be a struggle for students on the Apt. Life plan to use up our meals each week, and I can’t imagine how hard it must be having 14 meals! I also make sure I’m still picking nutritious items when I eat on campus, which can be a challenge. But fear not, I’m here to help. Yes, I have a little bit of an advantage with my kitchen (I was smart in my housing-choice), but you guys in the dorms don’t have it too bad.

More Than Just the Taste
Let’s talk nutrition and dietary needs – what do those of us who want to eat healthy or have to avoid certain foods do in the midst of greasy pizza, fried chicken, wheat-containing products, etc.? Cal Poly has a “unique food-labeling system with nutrient information as part of the national nutrition keys program”, which can be found at several of the venues throughout campus, according to the nutrition page on the Campus Dining website.

Come back in a few days to read about the best options at Cal Poly’s own pizza and pasta joint, Ciao. Until next time, my friends, stay hungry!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s