1-Don’t forget about LoGo’s!: If you have a meal plan, but don’t feel like the dining halls, or just want to lock yourself in your dorm room and watch Netflix, fear not! LoGo’s is located across from the Lothian Dining Hall, and accepts meal swipes for a to-go lunch or dinner.
2-Dieting Made Easy!: Stuck with a meal plan, sick of the dining hall food, and thinking about trying to eat healthy? Well, both the AI and Lothian consistently have extensive and fresh salad and sandwich bars as a healthy alternative to the day’s meal.
3-Try Scotty’s!: The Scotty’s C-Store located in the Glen Mor apartments by Pentland is often forgotten by those who don’t live near it, but their sandwich and burger grill boast some of the best food you can get with your Bear Bucks and Dining Dollars.
4-Student Discounts!: Always ask if there is a student discount at restaurants near campus. Many restaurants will knock off a buck or two if you show your UCR student ID, even if there is no sign saying that they do.
5-Don’t spend all your Dining Dollars in the first week!: Although it’s tempting to have Coffee Bean and Panda Express every day, make sure you budget your dollars because they go quick!
6-Drink water!: Yes, Coffee Bean is delicious and all, but there’s no healthier beverage option than water. What better way to avoid gaining the dreaded freshman 15 than to drink the liquid that helps you control calories, energize muscles and maintain your body’s nutrient transportation? It’s the healthiest option you have. What’s more, it’s free — even at the Coffee Bean.
7-Go off campus!: There’s more to choose from, they’re more delicious and in most cases, they’re cheaper. Think about it: Would you rather spend around five dollars on two slices of pizza at the HUB or get an entire family-sized pizza off campus for roughly the same price?
8-Wanna get away?: Go to Getaway Cafe! It’s the best go-to place when you’re looking for a sports bar that’s close to campus and open past midnight. The service is great, the ambiance is energetic and the food is pretty damn good, too.
9-Read your email!: When you first start college, you’ll get deluged with emails every day. But take that extra ten minutes to comb through it. ASUCR, clubs and both on-campus and off-campus organizations send out invitations to events where food is provided, free of charge. It may not be gourmet, but it’s never a bad day when you can eat for free.
10-Coupons!: Fun fact: Almost every ticket you receive when you attend a UCR sporting event doubles as a coupon for an off-campus restaurant. The best part is that student tickets are free, so you’re essentially getting deals on food and you get to watch a basketball game for the price of nothing!
11-Habanero’s Does Breakfast!: Need a bite to eat before morning classes? Habenero’s in the HUB might not be Chipotle, but they serve a satisfying breakfast burrito as well as pancake and biscuit plates.
12-Don’t Fear Downtown!: Many places downtown are expensive, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few diamonds in the rough. Hunt around, talk to people and try a few places. Places like Templo del Sol and Doña Timo’s offer good food for cheap, and there are a couple others if you’re willing to look.
13-Get involved!: If there’s something you find interesting on campus, there’s probably a club for it. And if there’s a club for it, there’s probably food to be had. If you stay involved, there might be banquets or events with food present. At the very least, you can make some new friends who may know where to hunt down good grub.
14-Bring some cash on Wednesday!: There are Nooners every Wednesday from noon to 1:00 p.m. by the Bell Tower, and often student organizations sell tasty treats.
15-Research Dining Hall Menus!: Make an educated decision on what you want to eat by looking up the AI and Lothian menus on UCR’s dining website before swiping in.