Worried about the food in catered halls? Fear not, there are many benefits to not having to cook for yourself in your first year at university; it’s easier to budget, saves your time and doesn’t require treks to Aldi and back every week. There are many tricks to making the most of the hall meals and luckily, Impact has your back.
This isn’t really a tip, but firstly, you should know that life is (somewhat) easy in catered halls. It’s a nice way to gently move towards independent adult life – no cooking, no cleaning, no food shopping – what’s not to like? Trust me, if you move into a house or flat in second year where your list of responsibilities is as long as your arm, you’ll be wishing that you had a plate of food ready waiting for you after a long day of snoozing in lectures. So, embrace the ease of it while you can.
“One of the best things about being in catered halls is the beloved meal card”
Take advantage of your meal card for lunchtimes. One of the best things about being in catered halls is the beloved meal card. Remember, you can use it anywhere on campus with just a tippidy tap of your student ID. Venture into Portland, spend it on snacks in Spar, indulge in a Mooch burger, take a trip to the Chinese. The world of food is your oyster. And don’t forget to spend any leftover money on a Sunday night before it’s wiped.
Quantity over quality. There’s no other time in your university life that you will have the opportunity to eat a three-course meal plus an appetiser for dinner. So, even if the food isn’t to your exact taste, there’s plenty of it to go around. Also, there’s always more than one option for your main meal, so fret not, there’s bound to be something you will like. The benefit of eating with your fellow hallmates is that you can finish their meals for them if they don’t like it (I was often guilty of this). The menu changes every week too, with themed nights and cuisines from different countries and cultures.
Use the pantry for snacks – every corridor in catered halls has its own pantry equipped with a sink, toaster and kettle, along with a mini fridge in your bedroom. This means you can make your own snacks between meals, so don’t hesitate to make yourself a toastie and a well-earned cuppa when you feel like it.
“Takeaways are advised.”
Takeaways are advised. As decent as the halls food may be, sometimes all you want is a Domino’s delivered to your door. Check up on the deals, grab a few friends to split the cost and treat yourself once in a while.
Hopefully you will find it reassuring to hear that I personally enjoyed halls food in my first year. I found eating together in a dining hall very sociable and a good way to make friends; the meals at formals are also top notch. Whatever your food preferences, don’t panic, you will survive halls food and come out of the other end stronger. The real struggle begins once you move out of the bubble that is catered halls and have to learn how to cook for yourself.
Featured image courtesy of Sophie Hunt.
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