I’d be happy to give you some information, but it really varies with team. I’ll split up this post into 3 categories: Long meetings, events, and competition.
For regular meetings, it isn’t hard for people just to bring their own food or eat before hand. However, longer meetings on 461 are “BYOL” in many cases. Team members may bring their own lunch, and there is a microwave and refridgerator available in the office next to the lab so that they can heat or store any food they need. It isn’t a bad idea for members who are there a lot to prepurchase a large amount of frozen dinners. Not exactly healthy, but effective. For the post-kickoff strategy session, we got pizza ordered in because a team from a different area watched it with us. Pizza for a large amoutn of people is fairly realistic. Assume about 2 pieces per person, including advisors. The team should pay for pizza, or maybe charge $1 per student for it if really necessary. Students provide their own drinks.
Most events have food already covered, but if your team is working in any sort of volunteer thing and doesn’t have food available, going to a cafeteria or a fast food restaurant is a fairly simple option to get people fed. Pizza usually also wins out in this case, cause most everybody can eat a cheese pizza. If they are lactose intolerant, you can arrange to get them something else. Remember to make a sheet of the food preferences of your team members. Some people are vegetarian, others may keep strict kosher, others may have allergies. This is an effective tool for managing food in all circumstances. A good idea if you’re doing a post season party is to have certain people provide 1 liter or pop or juice each to make drinks easier to manage (such as at a pizza party). If you go to any restaurant where people order their own food, they also order and pay for their own drink. If pizza is ordered, the team should pay.
This one is probably what you’re most worried about. At a regional event, you will find many vendors selling various types of very expensive food. Students should probably pay for any of their own snack expenses at a regional. Our team sometimes goes out to lunch during the regional if there is time and if there is food nearby. On those occasions, members pay their own way. However, if there isn’t much time, it is also good for the team to pay for some pizza to eat on the bus. Some venues won’t allow you to bring outside food in. The team shouldn’t have to pay for snacks out of its budget, just make sure that you make clear to everyone what the expectations are.
At the Championship Event/Nationals (whatever you like to call it), your team may either purchase the FIRST competition package (including hotels, party entrance fee, and dining dollars) or arrange your own stuff. The competition package in my experience is very effective. Dining dollars are provided to give some number per person per day. These are spendable in the Georgia Dome or other venue and some stores nearby. They are awesome. However, if your team chooses not to purchase the package, you may arragne for students to fundraise ahead of time and then have an amoutn of money handed out to everybody. You should discuss this with your food coordinators, if you aren’t one.
Edit: Also, many companies (food) offer highly reduced rates for large groups (based on the amount of food you order).