Let’s face it: as a college student, life is tough enough with classes, jobs, extracurricular activities and relationships, all while trying to keep in touch with your family. After a long day of daily routines for students, some of us may not be motivated to make the scrumptious meal we rightfully deserve.
Luckily, there are plenty of places to grab a lunch or dinner on busy days. Here is a list of places that can provide a great meal without breaking your bank account.
A hub for Mexican food. The burritos are gigantic and are a great supplement to a dinner. There is a great variety of ingredients, with multiple choices of meat, along with salsa, rice, beans, corn, guacamole, sour cream and cheese.
For those who don’t want to deal with a messy burrito, a burrito bowl is a great alternative, as it provides the same taste, but without a tortilla. Burritos and the bowls range from $6 – $7, depending on the meat choice. Add a bag of chips for roughly $1.75, and a stellar $9 meal is the result.
2. Jimmy John’s
Jimmy John’s is known for its late night deliveries and is a popular choice for students. An 8-inch sub, cookie and drink can all be bought for a rough total of $9.50.
The 8-inch subs are $5 – $6 and range in choice, including vegetarian, turkey, BLT and tuna. Another option is the plain slims, which cost between $4-$5, and can include ham and cheese, double provolone, roast beef and turkey breast.
Another widespread franchise, Subway provides filling sandwiches with a multitude of different breads. Unfortunately, the $5 footlong is now gone the menu, but the sandwiches are still affordable and tasty.
Some sandwich combos come with a drink and side of chips or cookies. The total can be under $10 for many sandwich combos, such as BLT, meatball marinara, oven-roasted chicken, veggie delite, tuna and turkey breast.
4. Noodles and Company
This noodles franchise goes beyond its reputation for noodles, as it also offers pastas, sandwiches, soups and salads. Noodles and Company has risen to a more prominent position on the restaurant franchise totem pole for its healthy choices and portion size. Each noodle/pasta dish usually comes with a sprinkle of parmesan or feta cheese, and costs $4.90 for a small dish, or $5.90 for a regular.
Some of the popular dishes include pasta fresca, pesto cavatappi, pad Thai and the famous Wisconsin mac and cheese. Add a thirst-quenching drink and students pay $7 – $8 for a meal. Another option is a veggie or BBQ pork sandwich for $6 – $7.
Soups and salads range in price from $5-$8, depending on size and ingredients. There are plenty of choices in this category, such as tomato basil and chicken noodle, and salads with chicken or vegetables.
5. Mod Pizza
This up-and-coming franchise might not be as well-known yet, but with the increase of its popularity, many new locations are popping up nationally. Mod Pizza provides pizza in the form of fast food. In fact, students can walk out with their pizza in 15 minutes.
The pies range in price from $7.50 – $8 for an 11-inch (the most frequently ordered) pizza, and the number of toppings that can be added is unlimited, which allows for the exploration of so many choices and options.
Students can choose traditional red sauce on a pizza, or they can deviate and try pesto or BBQ. Cheese varies in choices as well, including mozzarella, parmesan, feta and asiago. Meats include ground beef, sausage and grilled chicken. For those who don’t eat meat, there are plenty of black olives, tomatoes, corn, peppers, jalapeños, garlic, pineapple and spinach.
A great supplement to pizza is garlic strips or cinnamon strips with the choice of a complementary sauce. To top off the pizza, MOD adds a drizzle of their special sauce. The sauces vary on spice level. Some options here are pesto drizzle, ranch, BBQ swirl, Sriracha and hot buffalo sauce. These sides are $3 and can make the meal price equal to $10.
6. Taco Bell
Though not authentic Mexican food, Taco Bell offers quite a bargain with its Dollar Cravings Menu. Limited time options include three-cheese nacho grande burrito and chicken enchilada grande burrito.
The Dollar Menu is also highlighted by the spicy potato soft taco, triple layer nachos, cheese roll-up and beefy Fritos burrito, although some locations across the country have now made the Dollar Menu prices rise up to $1.19.
Aside from the Dollar Menu, quesadillas, nachos and specialty tacos, such as the chalupa or cheesy gordita crunch, range in price from $3 – $5. Combos are also affordable, ranging in price from $5 – $7, and contain two or three items and a drink.
Some of the other, not-mentioned fast-food restaurants that provide meals at $10 or below are Steak N Shake, Panda Express, Burger King, Wendy’s and McDonalds. Those who prefer their food to be delivered (with an additional charge), should consider GrubHub, DoorDash and OrderUp.
Overall, many chain franchises keep reasonable prices for their meals. Food trucks also provide filling entrees on certain campuses, and occasionally have student discount days, as cost-efficient meals are always something to be on the lookout for.