Food & Dining

Where will I be eating?

Living on campus means you can experience the ultimate in convenience—great food options just steps away from where you live. Choose from a variety of locations where you can eat a meal or just grab a snack.  

Want to learn more about our food and dining halls?

Make sure to check out the Nutrition Corner blog, featuring articles from our on-campus dietitian, Rai-Lee Gardiner on the latest dining hall news, events, nutrition tips, special dietary topics, and more! 

Meal Plan Options

Traditional residences

Meal plans are mandatory for residents in any of our tradtitional residences: Gerard Hall, Howe Hall, Mini Res, Risley Hall, Shirreff Hall, or LeMarchant Place. 

You have several options including a 10-, 14-, and 19-meals-per-week plan, or the Freedom Plan, which offers unlimited access to the dining halls.

LeMarchant Place also offers two block meal plan options. See Costs & Fees for a complete list of residence meal plan options and prices.

IMPORTANT - Meal plans are selected at the time you accept your room offer and will be charged to your student account with your residence fee. Residence students do not need to purchase a meal plan separately. Please contact the Residence Office if you'd like to change your meal plan during the year.

Non-traditional residences

If you're a resident of Glengary Apartments or Grad House -- our two non-traditional residences -- you are not required to purchase a meal plan. However, you are welcome to purchase a meal plan if you choose to. There are several meal plans you can choose from.  

Dining Halls

There are four dining halls to choose from:

  • Shirreff Hall 
  • Howe Hall 
  • Risley Hall (for residents of Risley Hall and LeMarchant Place)
  • O'Brien Hall

All dining halls will feature a large selection of delicious and nutritious options for all palettes and dietary needs. The menu changes each day, so be sure to check the daily menus at the Dalhousie Food Services website.

If you're curious about the nutritional content of your meals, you'll find nutritional information provided at the kiosks in all the dining halls. If necessary, you can talk to the dietitian at Food Services about designing a plan to accommodate your needs.

Dietary Considerations & Food Labels

Dalhousie Food Services is committed to providing a safe and pleasant dining experience for everyone. We take pride in being able to support those with allergies, intolerances and special diets as much as possible.

We rely on the ingredient listings of our food manufacturers and processors. The reliability of our manufacturers and processors is a key component of our overall approach to food quality and safety, including dealing with allergens.

Peanut and/or Tree Nut Free

Our campus dining halls do not use any peanut or tree-nut ingredients in any recipes or offerings with the following exceptions. There are individual packets of peanut butter available for students upon request with a disposable knife to use at their tables. In addition, almond milk is available as a dairy alternative in a designated area.

Food labels

Look for these labels at various stations in your dining hall. They represent the most commonly requested dietary needs:


We have a number of students who follow halal dietary laws and we do our best to support them each day.

Our menu has a wide variety of both plant- and animal-based protein. We are offering more halal chicken options in the dining hall, and other halal proteins will be featured throughout the menu.

We have a great variety of vegan and vegetarian options (including rennet-free cheese) so you can opt to have a plant-centered meal that is halal friendly as well.

Don't hesitate to ask if an item contains haram products or to see the recipe or a label for a menu option.

Please note: even foods commonly prepared without haram-containing ingredients may not be 100% halal. Our recipes are prepared in open kitchens and some items are served "buffet-style", where cross-contact is possible and where ingredient substitutions are sometimes made. For these reasons we do training with our staff and strive every day to meet the dietary needs of our students in the safest way possible; however, we do ask for your co-operation in this by asking questions if things are not clear and to provide feedback as often as possible.

Vegan & Vegetarian

Our definitions for vegan and vegetarian are:
  • Vegetarian (lacto-ovo definition) - no meat but may contain dairy or eggs
  • Vegan - no animal products or by-products
Here are only a few delicious highlights from our menu that will be a good option for you:
  • Hot vegan offerings served daily on an ever-changing menu
  • Vegan and vegetarian options available at breakfast including smoothies, beans, tofu scrambles, and more!
  • A variety of changing made-to-order stations including pasta, destination station, deli, and salad bar, which will have vegan and vegetarian options available
  • Daily vegetarian feature pizza
  • Daily vegetarian/vegan soup
  • Dairy beverage alternatives

No Gluten

Our soups never contain gluten ingredients. Any recipes that would usually be thickened with flour or contain pasta, etc. have been modified to contain no-gluten ingredients.

The pizza station and made-to-order pasta station both have gluten-free options available upon request.

The omelet bar available on weekends is gluten free

We also have a unique service called the Gluten-Free Pantry -- a value-added service available to at no extra cost to students who follow a gluten-free diet due to an intolerance, allergy, or celiac disease. It is a designated cupboard in each dining hall (individual set ups vary by hall). Note: access is limited to those who have obtained approval from the dietitian. In the cupboard, you’ll find a variety of specialty gluten-free items like cookies, cereals, etc. that we stock based on your requests and dietary needs.

If you would like to see certain items stocked, please contact the dietitian.

Also available is a dedicated gluten-free toaster, and a small fridge with gluten-free bread products, diary beverage alternatives, and individual condiment packets.

See "Meet our Dietitian" below to learn more about how you can have a safe and healthy diet.

Meet our Dietitian

Hi, I'm Rai-Lee Gardiner, the Registered Dietitian with Dalhousie Food Services serving the Halifax campus.

I'm proud to be one of about 200 food services employees here on the Halifax campus dedicated to providing our residence students and other guests the tastiest and healthiest dining experience possible. I am especially proud of the efforts we undertake to support those with allergies, intolerances and special diets as much as possible.

Talk to Us

The key to safe and nutritious eating with an allergy is communication. Do not hesitate to ask the chef, your dining hall manager, or myself about the ingredients in a recipe or to see a label for a menu option.

Not sure of the ingredients in a recipe? Here are a few simple options:

  • Email or come see me, I'm happy to share the recipes so you can feel confident in your choices
  • Go see a chef in the dining hall
  • If you haven’t already, check out our online menu available for each dining hall during the academic year
  • Not in a social mood? Just look at the dietary menu icons, which will quickly inform you if an item is tagged (by yours truly) as being vegan/vegetarian. In this way you are free to distinguish on your own with the guidance of the menu information if that's a food you'd like to try.

I am also available to meet with any students that use our food services establishments to discuss any dietary needs, nutrition concerns, goals, and preferences. I'm here to help you successfully navigate the campus food scene.

If you have any feedback, good and/or bad, we always want to hear it. Your safety and satisfaction are our primary goals, so if you have any suggestions please pass them along to me.

Yours in healthy and happy eating,

Rai-Lee Gardiner, RD