Everyone that goes to UVA knows that as soon as you can get away from dining hall food, you do. It’s known for quantity, but definitely not quality. But that leaves many students with a predicament. They don’t have the time, knowledge, or desire to cook for themselves.

Thankfully, students don’t only have three options. Introducing the third option: Elevate Meal Plan. It’s a private dining plan that allows students to purchase meals from local restaurants at a discount of up to $3 per meal. It’s a win win situation.

In case you’re not convinced by the convenience and budget-friendliness of Elevate, it also truly has a meal option for every situation. Around the clock, there are so many restaurants and meals to choose from, that you’ll have a hard time figuring out what to eat. In that case, I can give you a helping hand.

Here’s what to order using your Elevate meal swipes, depending on what situation you’re in.

When you have no time between classes

With a convenient central location on The Corner, Little John’s is the perfect midday stop for lunch. While they don’t offer order ahead, it will only take you seconds to have the perfect grab-and-go sandwich combo in your hands. For maximum bang for your buck, order one of the flatbread sandwiches. That will get you a sandwich, chips, cookie, and drink for only one meal swipe. 

When you just finished a workout

Post workout nutrition is so so important, so you’re going to want to stop by Corner Juice ASAP. It’s an especially convenient location if you have a Corner Yoga membership. Just walk upstairs from class and you’re there. You can choose from a wide variety of options, depending on if you want sweet or savory. For sweet, you have smoothies and bowls. For savory, you can go for a sandwich.

When you’re still out and it’s 2am

While dining halls close on you late-night, Christian’s is always there for you. Pizza is available for you 24/7 via Elevate. You can get two specialty slices or three cheese/pepperoni slices for only one swipe. While that level of convenience in obtaining pizza may not be the healthiest option, you’ll appreciate it after the bars close.

When you want to have a meal with friends

One great thing about Elevate is that you don’t have to miss out on meals with friends while saving money. Armando’s is the perfect spot to meet your friends AND save money on your meal using Elevate. You can choose from a huge variety of mexican favorites from nachos to enchiladas and everything in between. And don’t worry — everything comes with chips and salsa.

When you’re brain dead from studying

An all-day study session calls for something that’s both delicious (for the soul) and nutritious (for the brain). The perfect intersection can be found at Roots Natural Kitchen. Their massive bowls are filling, delicious, and full of veggies to get your micronutrients in. You can choose from any one of their signature bowls for only one meal swipe.

When weekend brunch is a must

With Elevate, even your weekend brunch can fall under your meal plan and help you save money. Stop by The Pigeon Hole and choose from one of their breakfast combos to get everything that you could want out of brunch, including your choice of a coffee, juice, milk, or soda if that floats your boat.

When last night went a bit too long

If you were just out way too late last night and can already feel your headache coming on, fight it off with a smoothie from The Juice Laundry. They’re all jam-packed full of nutrients and each smoothie comes with a free boost for added micronutrients, protein, or healthy fats. If you want something savory instead of sweet, you can also go for their vegan chili. I promise, you won’t even miss the meat!

When it’s game day

Game day means you’re going to want to eat somewhere that serves drinks with lots of outdoor space to get your party on before the game. The Biltmore more than fits that ticket. Whether you like to pregame with wings, sandwiches, one of their starters, or keep it healthy with a salad, there’s an option for you. My personal go-to is a chicken caesar wrap because it comes with fries and a drink. What more could a girl want?

When you’re feeling fancy

Sometimes you deserve a meal that goes a bit beyond the typical grab and go or fast casual vibe. That’s where Michael’s Bistro comes in. Although it’s on The Corner, it has a fancier feel due to its second-story location and old-school decor. Try their fish tacos or thai chicken curry for something a little adventurous.

When the weather is amazing

When the weather in nice in Charlottesville, everyone wants to be outside. Just because you’re saving money and time with the Elevate meal plan doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all that fun. That’s where your meal swipes come in handy at Crozet Pizza. You can get a salad, personal pizza, or calzone while sitting at one of their outdoor picnic tables.

When your mom’s cooking is all that sounds good

It’s hard to get a taste of home when you’re away at college. Throw it back to a childhood favorite at Revolutionary Soup. You can get a grilled cheese and tomato soup for only one meal swipe with the special student combo.

With 28 active restaurants, 2 coming soon, and many more in the pipeline, your options are basically endless with the Elevate Meal Plan. Or at least infinitely more than a college meal plan, not to mention the benefit of it being cheaper, tastier, and easier to order ahead. You’ve not nothing to lose.

#SpoonTip: Use the code RENEE389 for 2 free meals when you sign up for a new meal plan!