As finals fade away (amen), most of us are heading back home for the summer. While coming home is a joyous event – oh how I have missed my bed, TV and showers sans flip-flops – it can be a bit of a tricky transition, especially for those of us who had a year on the meal plan.

With food constantly surrounding up at home, don’t be surprised if you start gaining that freshman 15. Here’s a list of a few things to prepare yourself for when you get back from school.

24/7 Kitchen Access

Meal Plan

Photo by Jocelyn Hsu

No matter what meal plan you have, food will never be at the tip of your fingertips 24/7. You inevitably have to get out of your bed from watching Netflix to walk/bike to get food. And honestly, sometimes that just isn’t feasible. Without even realizing, I cut out a lot of snacking because of pure laziness and lack of food in sight.

Fortunately (unfortunately?), when you get home your mom will have purchased all of your favorite snacks, made all of your favorite meals, and stocked the pantry like the plague was coming. With the kitchen just a step away, food has never been so accessible–well at least the most accessible it’s been in a year.

Home Cooked Meals

Meal Plan

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After the first month on my meal plan, I was already bored with the dining hall meal options. While I admit I am spoiled coming from a mom who cooks dinner Sunday-Thursday, no one could handle the repetitive and bland meals the dining hall tried to pass off as “fried chicken” or “spaghetti and meatballs.”

However, just 8 months later when you get home, your mom will most likely have 1 or 2 weeks worth of your favorite meals planned out and ready to be whipped up.

Pro Tip: Don’t be alarmed if you act like a ravenous, starved college student when you eat 5 pieces of your mom’s homemade chicken cutlets–it’s totally normally.

Easy Supermarket Access

Meal Plan

Photo by Daisy Dolan

If you’re on the meal plan, you most likely don’t plan on going supermarket shopping. So, when you get that craving at 12 am for Publix cookies (it happens to the best of us), you have no money or transportation to get to the supermarket. Most of those cravings will have to be satisfied with dining hall concoctions or simply be forgotten.

Upon your arrival home, your car and parents are readily available to get you to the supermarket. Remember those days when you hated supermarket shopping with your mom? Think again, because easy access to the supermarket becomes one of the best – and most dangerous – treats.

Ability to Cook and Bake

Meal Plan

Photo by Emma Delaney

One of the hardest things to give up when on the meal plan is the ability to cook or bake on your own – it’s truly heartbreaking. The dorm kitchens are not even an option, so the possibility of making anything other than Easy Mac is slim to none.

For the two weeks I have now been home, I have made everything from oven baked pancakes to chocolate cake. With 24/7 access to your kitchen and supermarket, don’t be surprised if you find yourself spending more time in the kitchen than your bedroom.

Interested in more articles about the meal plan?  Check these out: