Maybe the University of Utah won’t face facts and will continue to build dorms, but like it or not, the U is a commuter school.
So if you’re someone who commutes to school, you likely don’t have time to go home for lunch, so you have to eat on campus. Luckily, the U does provide us with plenty of foods to choose from, but it comes at a price. Whether you eat at the Union, the Campus Store, Mom’s Cafe or Starbucks, you have to spend money. Let’s say you only spend $5 a day (you probably spend closer to $8, but let’s keep it easy). Now, let’s say you attend school at least three days a week, which is pretty standard. If you spend $15 a week for food on campus and there are 15 weeks in the fall and spring semesters, you are buying food for 30 weeks total, making a grand total of $450 per year. If you spend more like $10 a day, however, that total doubles to $900. That’s money you could save by bringing a lunch.
You may think carrying a lunch box around isn’t a good look, but bringing a lunch is actually cool in college. You are now an adult, and at some point in the next four years to the rest of your life you have to start thinking about adulting. The first step to adulting is eating well. This means a bag of Cheetos from the vending machine isn’t going to cut it as an acceptable lunch. It doesn’t provide enough calories, and it has zero nutritional value.
As an adult, you get to pack your own lunch. Gone are the years of milk and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a loving note from your mom. Now, you can pack a boss lunch with pudding, fruit cups and Cheez-Its. There are even entire foodstagrams dedicated to packing lunches and meal prepping with and without dietary restrictions that you can draw inspiration from. These people make lunch fun.
A sandwich will always be classic, but it can be a bit limiting in this brave new world. You can also try a wrap. Some of you might be thinking that it’s exactly like a sandwich, only with less carbs, but you’re wrong. You can wrap anything. You can wrap hummus and tomatoes in a piece of lettuce for a vegan wrap, avocado and cheese in a corn tortilla for a gluten-free veggie wrap or just ham and cheese in a flour tortilla. You can make omelets for longer days or rice bowls with veggies and chicken or tofu. If you’re feeling lazy, you can bring entire cans of Progresso soup and microwave them in tupperware. Hard boiled eggs are also easy to make. If all this seems too hard, Smith’s sells individual macaroni and cheese cups that are much cheaper than the ones at the Marriott Library, and you can always fall back on ramen.
You can even get super into it and cook extra food on Sunday nights so you can bring leftovers to school. Before that sounds too involved, don’t worry, this could even just be pizza. So embrace bringing your lunch to school, and save a little bit money while you’re at it.