Dining halls can be a drag. They serve the same things over and over, and are 9 times out of 10 supplied by huge corporate companies with low quality food. At many schools, freshmen are required to have a dining hall meal plan…and if you love food as much as me, this may not necessarily be the best news in the world…UNLESS you know some sneaky ways to make that bland old dining hall food just a little bit, well, less bland. Here are 12 way to get the most out of your school’s dining hall food!
1. Make an Instagram worthy breakfast parfait.
Your dining hall has all the ingredients necessary, I promise. Load up a bowl of yogurt with layers of granola and fruit. Top with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup and voila!
2. Venture outside of the salad bar when making your salad.
You know that fruit section you used to create a glorious parfait? Use those same tasty pieces of fruit to scatter on a salad. Sprinkle a little feta cheese, nuts or seeds, and whatever meat is calling your name over a plate full of lettuce and you’ve got yourself one heck of a salad.
3. Deli bar + burgers = happiness.
Those plain burgers that the dining hall provides you don’t have to stay that way! Take the burger over with you to the deli bar and load up on toppings.
4. Don’t be afraid to go to multiple stations when crafting your meal.
You don’t have to stick to just one station or type of dining hall food when figuring out your meal; take different pieces from each section to generate a meal fit for a king. A little pasta from the pasta bar, topped with some taco meat from the taco bar, finished off with a few slices of avocado from the salad bar? Sounds good to me!
5. Make your own milkshake.
If you have a frosty machine, make your own milkshake by simply putting the ice cream into a cup, rather than a bowl, and mixing in a splash of milk and of course, your favorite toppings!
6. Taco bars aren’t JUST for making tacos.
My school has a taco bar almost everyday, and while I love me some tacos – sometimes I’m just not feeling the shell or tortilla. Instead, I make my own homemade burrito bowl! Just put some rice in a bowl and add all those delicious taco ingredients on top. Switch out the rice with a handful of lettuce for a healthier option!
7. Snag some snacks for later.
Dining halls are a gold mine for snacks. Bring some baggies or containers to snag a few snacks to enjoy later on throughout the day. My personal favorite – bananas and peanut butter!
8. DIY breakfast sandwiches will save your mornings.
Toast some bread (english muffins, bagels, sandwich rolls and even WAFFLES work too) and pile on some breakfast meat, cheese, eggs, and BOOM, you’ve got a filling breakfast that beats McDonald’s any day!
9. Top your fries with…anything. And everything.
Make chili fries using products from the taco bar. Make Italian fries by adding a little drizzle of pasta sauce, Parmesan cheese and maybe a few pepperonis. Keep it simple with just some melted cheese and maybe a squirt of mayo and ketchup. Guess what – this goes for tater tots as well!
10. Don’t skip the vegetarian section…even if you’re not a vegetarian!
Most schools have a vegetarian station, but don’t think that this section should be ignored. They usually have really tasty options, so at least check it out, you may like what they have to offer.