Being a commuter is pretty difficult at times—extracurricular activities, the hassles of public transportation and carrying all your belongings everywhere you go. One challenge is deciding to dine on campus or bringing food from home. So the question is: lighten your load or save money?
It’s tough to keep food cold. I know from experience that using a lunchbox can get quite annoying because the food only stays cold for roughly four hours and it gets to be a real nuisance carrying it around all day with everything else that you may have.
I was here on campus from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. most days last semester, so lugging everything around was annoying and heavy. Plus, taking the shuttle and train, I felt like I was in the way and had over-packed, mostly because of the unnecessary textbooks that I thought I would need. Those with cars have it a little easier because they can leave everything in it until they need it.
Buying lunch from school is a good option because it’s so much easier, however, it’s costly. Cheaper options, like Burger King and Taco Bell taste good, but much of the menu is unhealthy. Therefore, you want to go to Subway or Freshens. Yes, $8 isn’t that much for a filling entrée or meal, but if you’re eating on campus three days a week, that’s almost $30 a week. Adding on breakfast can cost up to $150, especially if you’re on campus more than three days.
I can have lunch and breakfast for an entire week for roughly $30 by going to my local Stop and Shop. You definitely get more bang for your buck by bringing food from home.
I recommend bringing breakfast or snack options like chips, fruit, granola bars or anything in a plastic baggie. For lunch, microwavable meals are possible options. These items are all lightweight and easily disposable. Sometimes, I bring a salad or sandwich in a disposable container and include an ice pack or two. It’s easy to carry and you can stuff the bag with the ice packs in your backpack when you’re done.
Treating yourself to lunch on campus once a week saves money. If you need a coffee in the mornings like me, treat yourself, but bring your breakfast instead.
So commuters, whether you lighten your load or not, make sure that you are eating something nutritious and filling.
Find something that works for you and enjoy eating on campus or not.