Let's get this straight: the reality of packing lunches the day before school shatters all our expectations. It's not always easy for everyone to find time to pack meals for those ten-minute periods in between lectures. As college students it's in our inherent nature to stay so busy (and broke) we don't have time to eat. 

For this reason, it's good to have fast, alternative options to satisfy your appetite at any time in the afternoon without breaking your wallet. Brownie points to those who can pack lunches that aren't sandwiches.

Welcome to the Purdue Memorial Union, our visitor information center and a central campus hub offering an endless selection of foods for all. From sushi to flatbreads to pizza—there's bound to be something you'll like. I scouted and searched for the best foods that are $5 or under for nearly every store in the union. 

Here are 25 cheap eats at the PMU that will help defeat that hangry and stingy af demon within us all: 


beer, pizza
Jane Yeo
1. The Greek In U Flatbread Pizza (Vegetarian) $4.99
2. Loaded Potato Flatbread Pizza $4.79 3. Three Meat (sausage, bacon, pepperoni) Flatbread Pizza $4.99 4. Chicken Artichoke Flatbread Pizza $4.99 5. Thai Chicken Flatbread Pizza $4.99 6. BBQ Chicken Flatbread Pizza $4.89

7. Eggplant Parmesan Flatbread Pizza (Vegetarian) $4.89


beer, coffee, tea
Jane Yeo
8. Rice Bowl (Choice of rice + entree) $4.35  9. Fried Rice with Egg $2.75

10. Vegetable Lo Mein (Vegetarian) $4.50


tea, coffee, beer
Jane Yeo
11. Ultimate Breakfast Wrap $4.59
12. Breakfast Croissant $4.39

13. Grilled Three Cheese $4.69


A photo posted by Wynn (@foodieviolet) on

14. Stromboli $4.89 15. Pan pizza $4.49

16. Neapolitan cheese pizza $3.29


coffee, beer, tea
Jane Yeo

17. Sausage and Egg Crepe (half order) $4.99

Pappy's Diner

A photo posted by BaNaNa (@purdue_ba_na_na) on

18. Grilled Chicken Sandwich $4.69 19. The Veginator Sandwich (Vegetarian) $4.39
20. Pappy Burger $4.19 21. Pappy Cheeseburger $4.59 22. Mushroom Swiss Burger $4.59

23. Chicago Dog $3.49

Korean Street Food Express

coffee, tea, beer
Jane Yeo
24. Two tacos (beef or spicy pork) for $4.98 (or one for $2.49)

25. Spicy rice cake $4.29 (add cheese for $0.59)

Granted there are a few places and meals I missed, but that's only because there either weren't any items that were offered under $5 or were not qualified to be on this list. Being satisfied after eating something on this list is KEY. If food wasn't meant to be joyful, there's not point in eating, right?

So if you can never find the time to make a week's worth of vegan lunches in those awesome meal prep containers, then make a quick trip to the union. Make sure you know when to use your meal swipes if you're on a meal plan (R.I.P. non-dorm residents).