At a school our size, you have more options than you could ever imagine for every facet of your life here–classes to take, clubs to join, library study spots–and your dining options are no exception. By now you’ve likely settled on a meal plan, but have you figured out how to use it effectively? You’re hungry, so here is a crash course in how to get the most out of your meal plan:
How blocks work
Meal block: the currency we use at Ohio State to purchase food. You can also use BuckID cash which comes loaded onto your BuckID with most meal plans and more can be added online or at any of the 7 deposit stations located on campus. One meal block is equivalent to $5, but if your meal is over $5 but not quite $10 you can use a combination of blocks and BuckID cash, blocks and U.S. currency (real life cash), or blocks and a credit card to pay.
Maximize your blocks. Maximize. Your. Blocks. Instead of using two blocks for an $8 meal, use those two additional dollars. Stock up on granola bars or snacks because when everything is closed at 2 a.m. and you’ve got a midterm the next morning, you’re going to need some fuel for the late-night study session. Also, BuckID cash can be used at off-campus locations, so save the BuckID cash for when you need a break from campus food…though, with all the options around here, it’s hard to believe that will ever happen.
Where to go
Ohio State dining options include different service-styles including Traditions, Cafes, and the C-store. Traditions are your basic all-you-care-to-eat cafeteria-style dining. There are three Traditions locations, one on each part of campus. Kennedy is often the favorite among first-year students because it has the most options; however, any Traditions location is the best deal for a hot breakfast before class.
Cafes and Fast Casual joints have a set up similar to Panera Bread or Chipotle where you order your food and they prepare it in under 5 minutes and call out your order number. Courtside Café in the RPAC and the Union Market have some of the best dishes without the longer lines you may see in other locations (I’m looking at you, MarketPlace).
Finally, we have the C-Stores (C for Convenience). Much like Traditions, there is one on each part of campus. If you live in Morrill or Lincoln Tower the C-store will likely be your most viable (and utilized) option. There may be many Sundays in which you’re held up in your residence hall room all day doing homework, leaving only to take an elevator down to the C-Store in your pajamas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Beyond weekend laziness, the C-store is great for when you want to take your food on the road with you to your next class or just to your bed for another Netflix binge.
What to get
Ohio State has some of the best campus food in the country, but everyone has their favorites; the few items that stick out and are worth going back for even if you no longer have a meal plan.
Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie @ Juice 2
Insider tip, add chocolate for a Buckeye version or strawberries for a PB and J. But don’t fool yourself: just because it’s at the RPAC doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Opt for a smoothie with a soy milk base if you’re looking for a snack that won’t undo your entire workout.
Sushi @ Union Market
If you’re a sushi person, the Union Market is the place for you. Made fresh daily, sometimes even right in front of you!
Chocolate Chip Cookies @ Sloopy’s Diner
Not a single Ohio State student has gone through their freshman year without spending an entire block on 5 Sloopy’s cookies. Best dessert on campus. If you’re into crunchy cookies over gooey ones stick them in your freezer when you get back to your room.
Burritos @ Burritos
Chipotle addict? Try Burritos on North Campus for that Mexican food fix without crossing High Street.
Mirror Lake Mac @ Mirror Lake Creamery & Grill
If you’re into classic American burger and fries, hit up Mirror Lake Grill and Creamery. The Mirror Lake Mac is the best burger on campus and the fries are out of this world. Enjoy an ice cream smoothie afterward!
Friday (9/5) is the deadline to make changes to your meal plan for this semester–enjoy eating your way through campus!