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Thursday, October 06, 2022

Gators get a bellyfull of meal options

Those extra pounds lurk somewhere between the first football game and Thanksgiving weekend. It's inevitable for your roommate who thinks pizza, beer and cheesy bread are the main food groups.

For the savvy student who looks at all of UF's on-campus dining options, however, the bulging waistline can be avoided.

UF has two dining halls: Broward Dining Hall, by the Broward Area, and Gator Corner Dining Center, on the corner of Stadium Road and Gale Lemerand Drive. Both feature buffets, and Gator Corner recently unveiled a lounge-style dining room plus an espresso and ice cream bar.

Students on meal plans can access the dining halls, the Harn Museum's Camellia Court Café, and Home Zone, Orange & Brew and Croutons in the Reitz Union.

Restaurants at the food courts in the Reitz Union and the Hub accept Flex Bucks from meal plans and declining balance accounts from Gator 1 Cards, as do the Graham Oasis and Beaty Market convenience stores.

Many classroom buildings have coffee stands, and Library West has a Starbucks.

Not all students choose a meal plan, however. Pre-med biochemistry junior Obi Ugochukwu has never had a meal plan, even though he lived on campus as a freshman. He cooked his own food because it was cheaper and he could choose healthy options.

Ugochukwu spent the second half of his freshman year as a vegetarian and did eat a few meals at a dining hall.

"They weren't so bad," he said. "They had a salad bar, I guess."

Ugochukwu does still eat on campus occasionally. He said Moe's on Stadium Road has the best vegetarian options.

Food science and human nutrition senior Kelsey Baizan had declining balance money on her Gator 1 Card for the three years she lived on campus. She said students can find healthy options, but they need to make an extra effort.

"Knowing what to choose, limiting portion sizes and resisting the all-you-can-eat desserts can pose a problem for some," Baizan said.

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She suggested salad, sandwiches and fruit at the dining halls, and she said Subway can be healthy if students load up on veggies and avoid creamy dressings.

For some students, meals are a social event or a way to catch up with friends.

Elementary education junior Maddy Snyder said she recommends meeting up at the Reitz Union because the Hub can get too crowded at lunchtime for people to find seats together.


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