Meal Plan Hacks

Hi y’all! I’m Audrey and I’m one of the Chartwells marketing interns. I’m a senior in the Walton College of Business, and I’ll be graduating in May! I love my puppy, naps, and food – I’m extra passionate about anything chocolate or cheese (but not together).

I had a meal plan on campus freshman year, an off campus meal plan my sophomore year, another on campus meal plan while being an RA my junior year, and I’ve worked with Chartwells for over a year now – aka I am an expert in meal plans. I wanted to share a few tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years to really make the most of your meal plan!

Learn the off hours of the dining halls and avoid the peaks

….because that extra 5 minutes waiting in line could be better spent eating an ice cream cone.


Know your meal trade options… all of them.

Meal trades are amazing, but eating at the same location each night can get boring. So if you’re eating Slim’s so much that you grow concerned about the percentage of your body made up of chicken, it’s time to switch it up! Union Food Court now sells Au Bon Pain sandwiches, salads, and wraps for meal trade (4:30pm-11:00pm).

Meal plans were great freshman year, but meal plans are even better sophomore, junior, and senior year.

When I moved off campus, I thought I probably wouldn’t want to eat on campus anymore but boy was I wrong. If anything I like eating on campus more now because I’m busier than ever and I don’t have time to leave campus, make a lunch, eat, clean up, and then get back to campus. (Okay, maybe sometimes I have the time, but not the energy.) Off campus meal plans let you have meals and those precious flex dollars without committing to a weekly amount- use ‘em when you need ‘em!

Try something new!


It’s easy to get in a routine and start to feel like you’ve eaten the same meal for the past twenty meals in a row. Brough and Fulbright change their stations constantly, and the wellness zone in each location has a new, healthy (and yummy) item each day. Retail locations like True Burger, Rocket Taco, and Hill Grill have monthly specials as well. For example next month True Burger will have a Fire burger on the menu and it’s delicious, different, and can get you out of your favorite food funk.

Take a snack for the road!

There’s no need to sneak that cookie in your pocket (unless you’re just trying to keep it warm) because you’re allowed to take one snack item with you each time you leave! A cookie, a banana, a piece of pizza, whatever your heart and hand desire.


So many people don’t know about this super cool service, but it’s one of my favorite parts of the dining halls. Its value is best described using a hypothetical situation involving mac n cheese (because mac n cheese). Say you’re in Brough and they’re serving mac n cheese, your favorite. Everyone’s favorite. You get to the station only to learn they’re out. You’re understandably crushed. But this is where Text2Solve comes in! You text the number for Brough, tell them they’re out of your necessary daily serving of mac n cheese, and they respond directly to you letting you know what’s up, and then again once they’ve replenished. It works for silverware, questions about menu items, concerns, suggestions, etc.!

–> Brough: 479-316-4001 // Fulbright: 479-316-4040 // Pomfret: 479-316-4032 <–


Did you know we have a registered dietitian on campus?!

New year, new you- right? Ashley is the perfect person to help that “new you” start your health journey and/or stay on track. You can set up a casual meeting or even a walk through at a dining hall! She can help you find healthy options at any location, walk you through what to eat and what not to eat (yes, you can still eat mac’n cheese), and for any of you with food allergies: she can work with you and the dining halls to create a better allergy-friendly experience!

You can email Ashley at

Actually use your meal plan.

This isn’t so much of an actual meal plan hack as it us just a college life hack. Do yourself and your wallet a favor and take advantage of the meal plan you have!