There are a lot of perks to going home during winter break: family, high school friends, and possibly warmer weather, to name a few. But the thing that rules over all of that? Food, of course. Here are five reasons why food is the highlight of going home.

1. Your Mom's or Dad's Specialty

Your parent may have made up the recipe or found it years ago, but since you were little, there was definitely something your family made that you always loved. For me, it’s my dad’s dish of tomato sauce and shrimp over rice. My best friend’s family makes baked artichokes coated in breadcrumbs. Unfortunately, as much as we wish it was, your favorite meal from home is probably not commonly featured in the dining hall.

2. The Special Way You Like Your Food Prepared

While the dining hall is expansive, it cannot cater to everyone’s tastes. So yes, they will have spaghetti and meatballs, but will they taste like your mom’s meatballs? Did they use a sauce with extra garlic because they know you love it?

At home, my dad makes grilled chicken with lots of spices. The dining hall has grilled chicken, but I still miss the way my dad prepares it. Being at home, our parents make things the way we like them, and the way we are used to–it’s delicious.

3. Your Favorite Snacks

The after-school snacks that you grew up with are usually still stocked and ready at home. Unless you have ample time to get to the grocery store while at college, it’s likely you won’t always have the snacks you used to. Speaking for myself, I know I have found myself in the mood for snacking but lacking anything good. My mom, though, still buys the berries and cereal I always came home to.

4. Your Favorite Restaurants

Exploring new restaurants in the new city or town where you live for college can be very exciting. It’s so fun to find new go-to spots, especially when you can try new cuisines. But coming home, you can visit your favorite diner, where the staff know you. Or you can get ice cream with high school friends at the place you always visited after school. While new places are very appealing, it is always nice to take a walk down memory lane and enjoy your favorite places from your home town.

5. Healthier Options

There are definitely ways to keep eating clean at school, but for some of us–especially us freshmen–it can be difficult to resist the endless pizza and French fries option. No one is telling us to eat those vegetables. But getting home is a joyous and much-needed wakeup call to remember how great home-cooked and healthy food is. And it can inspire you to keep healthy throughout the rest of the year.

So, while there are many reasons that going home for break is great, these five reasons show why food really takes the cake. Besides, what better way is there to bond with family and reconnect with friends than over a delicious meal?