If you are like me, you might be feeling a bit worried about what the dining experience is going to be like when you arrive at Princeton. As someone who is both vegan and can be just a “little” bit picky about the food I eat, I wondered if there was going to be anything at all I liked to eat in the dining hall and what I was going to do if there was nothing I could or wanted to eat.
Luckily, I quickly found that the dining experience at Princeton was very accommodating of all dietary restrictions and preferences. When it wasn’t, there were easy alternatives to make sure I still had yummy foods to keep myself nourished and happy during my time at Princeton. While nobody will claim that the dining halls are a Michelin three-star, gourmet experience, in a non-Covid year, the diversity of food offered in the dining halls was impressive. For first year students, there are five different dining halls to pick from, with each catering to different dietary restrictions and preferences in different ways. For example, while the Butler/First dining hall is known for its delicious vegan salad bar, the RoMa (Rocky/Mathey) dining hall consistently has vegan pizza. Moreover, the Center for Jewish Life dining hall, which serves all Kosher food, serves vegetarian-only food options three to four days a week.
Moreover, if you ever find yourself in a dining hall that is not quite able to accommodate your dietary requirements or tastes, the dining staff are open to suggestions and looking to help you find a meal that will meet your needs, even if it has to be specially prepared. In addition, if you are looking for a specific type of food that you want to be stocked in the dining hall long term, it is easy to request. Not every request can be met, but the fact that the staff is willing to listen matters. So, instead of being constantly worried about whether or not I would be able to eat in the dining hall or if this would get in the way of my making new friends, eating at Princeton has often been a place where I was able to have delicious, fun and social meals.
Despite all of this, there were still times when I felt like the food in the dining hall didn’t quite work out or where I just preferred to grab a quick bite on my own. I recommend having some staples in your room — the fixings for peanut butter and jelly, some cereal and milk, maybe some protein bars. Especially if you are a picky eater, it is simple and easy to have some dietary “back-ups” to have on hand . . . just in case the Princeton food doesn’t taste quite right on a given day. Outside of this, there are also plenty of delicious restaurants in town if you are looking for a special treat. With this in mind, there is no reason at all to feel worried about the food at Princeton — it will be another great element of your four amazing years at the university.