As a college student, I think Whole Foods is a little pricey. Yes, I think its mission to sell the highest quality natural and organic products is important, but I can’t shell out $6 for a 5-ounce container of hummus.

That’s why I’d never eaten from their pay-by-pound buffet.

It was almost 4 p.m. and I hadn’t eaten yet, so when a friend asked if I wanted to tag along, my stomach overruled my wallet.

The Whole Foods buffet has variety of hot and cold foods, with something for every eater – carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian, pescatarian, frescatarian and anything else.

Some foods can be found everyday while others rotate. You can always get southern barbecue (and other types of barbecue), make your own salad, eat from the taco bar or choose from a variety of soups. International fare changes daily, as do the different items on the hot and cold bars and the dessert bar.

Here’s a sampling of what I ate:

whole foods plate

Even at 4 p.m., I was surprised at how fresh the food was. I loved the Indian food. It had great flavor and wasn’t too spicy for me. I even liked the tofu, especially the Asian marinated one (I sampled five kinds).

My pretty large plate ran me $9.45 – a little more than I would normally spend on lunch. But it was natural, organic and better than another Lean Cuisine. Plus, I was hungry.

-Danielle Cushing