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As a college student, choosing what to eat every day can turn out to be more of a struggle than expected.

Thankfully, UH offers some options to make sure students are getting fed daily. Let’s go through some meal plans and see which one is best for you!

Unlimited Meal Plans

Students living in residence halls on campus are required to purchase an unlimited meal plan. Freshmen have three options to choose from while upperclassmen have four. There’s the 24/5 Unlimited Bronze for $1,475, 24/7 Unlimited Silver for $2,780, 24/7 Unlimited Gold for $3,040 and 24/7 Unlimited Platinum for $3,260.

All of the plans include unlimited access to Moody Towers Dining and Cougar Woods Dining Commons which have buffet-style foods available.

The only difference between the meal plans would have to be how often you can get meal exchanges, how much Cougar Cash is allotted and the amount of guest passes you receive. Each meal plan is also only for a semester.

A meal exchange allows you to get a meal from any restaurant in the Student Center including Asado, Chick-fil-A, Panda Express and Mondo Subs to name a few. The only downfall of this exchange is having to wait until 2 p.m. and the lines can get pretty long. The meal plans offered range from one meal exchange a week to one meal exchange a day.

As for Cougar Cash, it’s basically cash that you can use at any retail restaurant, food truck and campus market.

With the new Retail Auxiliary and Dining Center opening up this year, more food options will be available to students including The Burger Joint, The Taco Stand, Paper Lantern and more. The most cost-efficient meal plan provides $150 in Cougar Cash while the more expensive one allots $500. If you have Cougar Cash left over from one semester, it rolls over to the next.

Last but not least, if you’re ever feeling nice, all the meal plans except Bronze allocate guest passes for you to take a friend into the dining hall for free.

Commuter Student Meal Plans

Alongside being able to buy an unlimited meal plan, commuters and UH apartment residents are the only ones able to purchase a meal plan from the Block and Cougar Cash category separately.

Commuters are not always on campus so it doesn’t make sense for them to pay for a 24/7 meal plan sometimes. With the Block meal plans, commuters can choose between buying 50 or 100 meals that would grant them access to the Dining Halls or paying $250, $500, $1200 or $1650 flat in Cougar Cash.

The best part of Cougar Cash is that you can use it to pay for the Starship Robot to bring your food wherever you are on campus, saving you time in between classes.

Which Meal Plan is Best For Me?

Having to pick a meal plan from all the options can seem overwhelming but it all comes down to your eating habits. If you plan to go home on the weekends or don’t like fast food, the Bronze option would be best.

The Silver option would work best for people who want more food options without having to buy the most expensive meal option. It also gives you 24/7 access to the dining halls compared to the 24/5 access provided by the Bronze option.

In between the Gold and the Platinum, the Gold meal plan is the best. Platinum seems like an overpowered meal plan where you won’t end up using up all your money unless you like to stock up on snacks. The only difference between the two is that the Platinum plan provides $200 more in Cougar Cash and 20 more guest passes.

Keep in mind that sometimes you’ll also eat off campus during the week for any outings you have with friends. You won’t be able to use your unlimited meal swipes at the Dining Halls or Cougar Cash on those occasions.

Ultimately, choosing the best meal plan comes down to preference and how often you’ll find yourself looking for a quick meal.

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