Meal Plan Options at Barnard
As a vegetarian, the salad bar was my go-to in the dining hall when I had a full meal plan my first year (as all Barnard First-Years do). The meal plan, admittedly, makes life a lot easier for your first year because it means that cooking is just an option, not a necessity. However, cooking does become a necessity for many upperclassmen who choose smaller meal plans to save money or spend more money on food outside the dining halls.
Since my sophomore year, I’ve lived in 616 and 600 suites with full kitchens, and have definitely taken advantage of this set-up. Now, I am by no means an authority on cooking - I don’t even understand 90% of the culinary vocabulary that comes out of 10-year-olds’ mouths on MasterChef Junior. In fact, as embarrassing as it is, I was a little shaky on pasta-cooking before college (but fear not, I have definitely mastered this art after a semester in Italy and two and a half years in college). To conquer my lack of knowledge and expand my options, I took several steps to become the MasterChef of my 600’s kitchens.
Practicing at home: especially during the summer between my first year and second year, I made sure to ask my parents any questions I had about cooking basics and helped them prepare meals that I like. My friends have even hit up my mom for recipes to make for our suite (not kidding). Mastering a few recipes from home that you know you like gives you some go-to options for school.
Compiling a recipe list: Over this past winter break, I compiled a sort of modern-day cookbook on Google Docs with easy recipes I’d found online. The document is super useful when I can’t decide what to make, and once I have decided, the link to the recipe is right there.
Meal prep: Ok, I’m not talking about fancy Instagram meal prep where every meal for an entire week is already made and looks amazing. I’m talking about cooking some quinoa or pasta or veggies in your free time so they’re ready to go when you need to eat quickly!
Taking advantage of the dining halls: Did you know a swipe at a dining hall can get you more than just a meal? Most of the dining halls on campus have tons of fruit (and cookies, let’s get real) that you can take for a snack later!
And, of course, you can always resort to Seamless or nearby restaurants when you’re in a pinch - there are plenty of restaurants near campus with quick to-go food, like SweetGreen and Dig Inn. So, all in all, you can make your Barnard meal plan anything you want it to be!
As always, feel free to email with any questions or comments!
Deena Cohen ‘18