As an underclassman, I frequented the dining halls on a regular basis, often going to Dewick three times a day. Tufts encourages this by putting first-year students on the premium meal plan, which allows students to swipe into the dining halls up to 6 times daily. After your first year though, students start to decrease their number of swipes and rely more on using JumboCash (money on your student ID) and preparing their own meals. Personally, I try to cook as little as possible to save myself from needing to brave my own cooking, so I optimize JumboCash as much as I can. Here are some of my favorite JumboCash locations on and around campus!
Commons Marketplace: Commons is an eatery on campus in the Campus Center (our student center) where students often grab a meal-to-go or hang out to eat. My favorite is the garlic bread grilled cheese, which they stick in the panini maker to warm. The sandwich comes with marinara dipping sauce, and it pairs wonderfully with a side salad from the build-your-own salad bar. The day I eat my last Commons garlic bread grilled cheese will be a sad day!
Hodgdon Food-on-the-Run: Hodge is a campus classic, and it is about to close for the rest of the semester to undergo renovations, so this week is my last chance to eat there. First and foremost, I’ll be devouring my favorite prepackaged Tufts salad, the roasted chickpea taco salad, complete with romaine lettuce, roasted chickpeas, black beans, corn, tortilla chip strips, purple cabbage, and a green cilantro dressing. And for dessert, I will be eating the giant Hodge cookies for the next few weeks to make sure I get my fill of each flavor — chocolate chunk (featured above), double chocolate chunk, M&M, and oatmeal raisin. Stick these in the microwave for 15 seconds and you’ll be amazed.
Mugar Café: Mugar Café is really a hidden gem because it is in the Fletcher Graduate School, so most undergraduate students don’t know about it. I learned about it during Covid when it was an option on our dining app, and not to be dramatic, but my life changed. Mugar has the freshest, and warmest, croissants on campus! They also have that wonderful cappuccino machine white-noise that makes for the perfect study environment.
Off-campus: We also have several off-campus restaurants that accept JumboCash. My two favorites, partly for their proximity and partly for their food, are Picanté and Tasty. Picanté can best be described as a locally-owned Chipotle-style restaurant. You choose a burrito, quesadilla, bowl, etc. and then walk down the line ordering what you want. The staff are all super friendly, and I’ve even seen them helping Tufts students practice their Spanish. Tasty is a favorite brunch spot. It’s so popular that it can be hard to get a table, but it is worth maneuvering the chairs around to make it work. I often stick with the build-your-own acai bowl, adding Nutella, peanut butter, blueberries, raspberries, granola, and coconut flakes, but when I’m feeling really adventurous, I'll sometimes go for their Nutella French toast too.
My friends here know that I am loyal to our dinings halls to an extreme extent; however, it’s fun to use JumboCash and try new things (and also cheaper than being on a full meal plan). My Emma’s Advice today is to figure out what meal situation works best for you. When my brother was at Tufts, he stayed on the premium meal plan for all four years because many of his friends stayed on it as well. With a lot of my friends living off campus, it made sense for me to lower my meal plan and try other options. Do what works best for you so that you can balance your nutritional and social needs.