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Suwannee Dining Hall at Florida State University
Suwannee Dining Hall at Florida State University
Original photo by Ariana White

Mastering Your Meal Swipe: Top Ways to Maximize Your FSU Dining Experience

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Tired of the same-old Suwannee? Don’t want to overspend on dining dollars? 

Once a day, Florida State University students can use a meal swipe as cash equivalency at any participating dining locations around campus for up to a value of $6.50. But with everything being so expensive, it can be hard to use a meal swipe without digging into your dining dollar balance. 

I am here to help!

Below are the best ways to take advantage of the cash equivalency without hurting your pocket! (Prices are subject to change!)


Located near the Honors Scholars and Fellows Building, Chick-Fil-A is a popular location for FSU students who want to grab something to eat. If you’re willing to wait in line during the lunch rush, Chick-Fil-A is a great option for your meal swipe.

Most Chick-Fil-A entrees, 8-piece grilled nuggets, 8-piece regular nuggets, chicken sandwich and spicy chicken sandwich fall under the $6.50 price. Each entree comes with up to four sauces. A lot of entrees fall right below $6.50, so adding extra toppings to your sandwich is an option to get extra bang for your buck.

If you’re not in the mood for an entree, a large fry and a drink fall under $6.50. For a sweet snack, buying a cookie, brownie or milkshake may be your move! My personal favorite milkshake flavor is cookies and cream. 

Pollo Tropical

Up next is Pollo Tropical! While the regular Tropi-Chop bowl used to fall slightly above $6.50, the recent price hikes have led to it being over a dollar more than what a cash equivalency swipe would cover. The Tropi-Chop bowl is still a good option if you don’t mind spending some dining dollars, but if you just want to use one swipe, don’t fear!

The quesadilla wrap and caesar wrap are both options that fall below the $6.50 mark. I love the quesadilla wrap as it reminds me of Taco Bell quesadillas.

You can also ask for up to two sauces free of charge! Having tried all the sauces, my personal favorites are Spicy Poyo Poyo and Curry Mustard.

Furthermore, you could purchase some sides or desserts such as mac n cheese, tres leches cake, fries, yuca or sweet plantains.

panda express

Not many people order the cub meal, but I always get it whenever I visit the Union. If you’re willing to overcome the embarrassment of ordering a kid’s meal, the Cub meal is for you. While the portions are smaller, it’s still a good option. The cub meal comes with an entree, a side (noodles or fried rice), a fortune cookie and a small kids-sized drink. Depending on who is working the register, you could also get dried apple slices or a smaller snack with it. Be sure to ask for soy sauce or chili sauce if you want an extra kick to your meal. 


1851 is one of the more expensive places to eat at FSU but on Taco Tuesdays at Vato Tacos, chicken and beef tacos are only $2 during the evening. Be sure to follow Vato Tacos on Instagram to make sure they have the offer in place and be sure to ask about the deal at the register when ordering. 

You can also spend your meal swipe at Gelato Love and get two scoops of gelato or ice cream for exactly one cash equivalency swipe.

honorable Mentions:

Einstein’s Bagels: A large smoothie, large coffee or hot chocolate, or breakfast sandwich can be a great way to spend your cash-equivalency swipe. There are so many options for coffee, including frozen and iced coffee, so don’t sleep on Einstein’s! 

Subway: There are many options for different 6-inch sandwiches you can try while using only one meal swipe. 

Brooklyn Pizza: Their prices have increased as well, but you can still get a pizza slice and a drink or two pizza slices covered by one meal swipe. 

Steak n’ Shake: Grab a milkshake, cheese fries or a cheeseburger and use your meal swipe for a good meal!

Round Up FSU: If your order is ever under the $6.50 mark, consider rounding up to the nearest quarter. This money is used for the FSU Food for Thought Pantry! You’re supporting a good cause.

Hopefully, you got some ideas on how to spend your meal swipes! Whenever you are at the register, don’t forget to say you are using your meal swipe equivalency to pay. Happy eating! 

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Naomi is a Public Health major and pre-health student from Tampa, Florida. You can find her studying, doing research, or volunteering when she's not in class. She hopes to be a physician one-day serving communities with limited access to healthcare.