Part of the first-year experience is the premium meal plan. Despite costing an arm and a leg, a premium plan gives first-years the luxury of swiping into a dining hall, guilt-free. (I remember entering Carmichael Dining Center last year to grab a single chocolate chip cookie on many occasions.)
However, as a sophomore, I decided to switch to the cheapest meal plan that Tufts allows sophomores to purchase: the 160 meal plan. For just 160 meal swipes, sophomores are charged $2,366 a semester; that is $14.79 per meal. Regardless of which meal plan you are on, I think we can all agree that they are expensive. So, let’s talk about how to make the most of our meal plan.
There’s a heated debate over which dining hall is better: Dewick or Carm. In all honesty, both dining halls are like my children; I can’t pick a favorite. However, today we are going to be talking about Carm: where the dining staff members are always happy, smoothies occasionally make it on the breakfast menu and, of course, fresh berries are served almost every morning.
So, what do I get at Carm?
Breakfast: Banana pancakes. If I see those on the menu, I will take the hike up Packard Avenue rain or shine. I also grab fresh berries, a banana, Greek yogurt and a vanilla almond milk. Then, when I get back to my room, I add a little bit of Greek yogurt (hot take, I know), sliced bananas and berries on top of those pancakes. If I’m feeling fancy, I might sprinkle some cinnamon and honey on top, too. My advice: Get creative with the toppings, live your truth.
How I finesse the menu: Let’s talk about the berries. If you grab too many, they will rot in your fridge. Wasteful, right? So, what I do is I grab a bunch of berries and freeze them. I do the same thing with bananas. Then, I take the frozen fruit and throw them in my blender with some almond milk to make a smoothie! If you don’t have a blender (which is honestly an essential) you can microwave frozen berries for about 15 seconds to defrost them before adding them to your pancakes, oatmeal or yogurt!
Something that had to be said: The amount of trash we are creating with these paper bags is insane! Keep a reusable bag in your backpack so you don’t have to keep taking new paper bags at the dining centers. If you forget to bring a reusable bag and have to use a paper one, try to reuse it before recycling it. I have used them as trash bags in my room, wrapping paper and packing fluff!