UNC dining hall food vs. food at your house

At home, you don’t have to fight for a seat like you do in Lenoir at lunchtime

There are some major differences between being at home versus being at UNC, but one of the most important is the food. Whether you eat in the dining halls or from your microwave, there are some considerable differences from the stuff your parents make – that could be for the better or worse.


Nothing ruins your carefree attitude when going to lunch in Lenoir than searching high and low for a table for you and your friends. You may even have to passive aggressively stare at someone as they finish their meal so they can get the message to “beat it.”

You definitely won’t miss that when you’re home. There is no fighting for seats or searching for the best table in the place because your spot is always open and you always sit next to the exact same people.


Eating with your family is drastically different from eating with friends. The conversation at home will most likely gear towards your future career goals rather than what happened in class today.

Serving sizes

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The fact that dining halls have an endless buffet of food can be seen as a positive or a negative. While it is a sure-fire way to put on the “freshman 15” or “sophomore 15” or the lesser known, but still real “second semester senior 15,” it always ensures you’re full at every breakfast, lunch and dinner. At home, one or two helpings is usually all you get.


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Lenoir and Rams try to vary their menu options, and from stir fry to pizza, they usually have something for everyone. At home, “you get what you get and you don’t get upset” is the mantra of many mothers. Pizza, pasta and the weird homemade peanut butter, oh my! The options are endless, whether you want them or not.

Number of meals

A swipe is a valuable thing that gains more worth as the end of the semester approaches. There are even the hungry students begging for swipes next to the cash register since they are obviously not planners. This also causes the stress of deciding how much dining hall food you are willing to eat before the semester even starts, also known as a high risk.

At home, you know when the meals are and you don’t have to ration them out. It’s a very freeing feeling.


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“Do I stay on campus and wait to eat or just try to come back later?” is a question we have all asked ourselves at one point or another.

The walk back to south campus is too far to come back and so are some of the off-campus locations as well. No one wants to walk for 30 minutes to their slice of pizza and salad bar when they could have a full pantry right in their house. Convenience is key and having all your food at arm’s reach has become a luxury to college students everywhere.

Knowing what you’re eating

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Sadly, many meals in the dining hall can have students questioning what kind of meat they’re eating or what substance that dish is supposed to be, so it’s not always the best experience.  Maybe you can tell which meal was yesterday’s leftovers or maybe you like to take a serving of a hefty gamble for lunch.

At home, you know what went into each dish and what each dish is supposed to look like. Definitely a plus.

It has become clear home-cooked food trumps the dining hall meals, but what makes those dining hall meals a little better is the fact that you’re eating them at Carolina.