A guide on where to eat when you need a break from Cal Dining

Deborah Chen/File

Cal Dining is great, but after a while we all need a change from campus cafeteria foods to find new sources of nutrition. Although affordability is a plus with a meal plan, eating elsewhere doesn’t necessarily have to break your budget. Here are alternative options to Cal Dining that won’t make a dent in your wallet.

Trader Joe’s

A walk through the automatic doors will have you instantly feeling like an adult. It’s time you stopped relying on a bag of Hot Cheetos and a bowl of cereal for sustenance and learn to cook yourself an actual meal. You’d be shocked by how low the prices are compared to your regular burrito bowl order from Chipotle. If you’re not looking to become the next Gordon Ramsay overnight, there are a ton of affordable frozen dinners and exclusive snacks that you can purchase to help ease your way into cooking.

Berkeley Bowl

You’ve probably experienced a situation where your usual market doesn’t have the exact item you’re looking for. It can be a hassle to make time to go from one store to the next, especially as a student with so many other responsibilities. Lucky for you, Berkeley Bowl has one of the greatest selections of items you’ll find in this college town. There’s fruit, vegetables and bulk items galore — all at affordable prices.

Berkeley Student Food Collective

This quaint and cute grocery store, located on Bancroft, has tons of healthy items for you to choose from — after all, health is key! But, as its site states, it’s “more than just a grocery store.” One unique aspect of this little market is its Sliding Scale program. With this program, the Student Food Collective team regularly prepares dishes you can purchase at a price that’s comfortable for you.

Finding food that’s both delicious and affordable can be tough in the Bay Area. But, it’s important to keep in mind all of the wonderful resources that are available to students outside of the Cal Dining sphere.

Contact Erika Lee at [email protected] .