res adn aoff campus students have different meal plans. res students are required to buy a student plan which has a set amount of money allocated to it depending on the size and the res you are in. off campus students are not required to buy a meal plan but there are several versions available. probably the best and simplest is adding any amount of money you wish to your freedom account as you go along. the difference between the meal plans also exists on the discount (tax deduction you get) i beleive that res meal plans have no tax where as off campus have half the tax.
here is a link to information on both the res and off campus meal plans http://hospitality.mcmaster. ca/mealplan/students.html
note: if you do end up going into the freedom remember 2 things; you will need to first put in 100$ but then you can add how ever much you want (i usually do 50 every time is ABOUT to run out), and dont let the plan reach 0, its going to be a pain to fill it up again as you will have to go into campus hospitality and fill out a form and put 100 on it again (you will also have to fill that form out the first time you fill it up)
and... (i wouldnt do the other off camps plan they have its just a scam, you add 200 first and it lasts for 4 weeks - if you dont use it up then its lost at the end of the 4 weeks - you can extend that time limit by filling it up, min 55 each time and that term is extended by another 1 week. If ever that term ends and you dont refill you will loose what ever you had on that card)