10 Dining Hall Hacks to Make the Most of Your Meal Plan

Now that the semester is coming to an end, the dining hall food may feel a little…boring. Maybe it’s been bland to you from the start. Regardless of your stance on dining hall food, here are some dining hall hacks for every meal of the day to keep things fun. These options may require a little more effort and, at times, assembly, but they’ll be worth it- and who knows, maybe you’ll be regarded as a genius by all your friends.

My favorite hacks use each section, especially the salad section, to its advantage. The salad section basically offers all of the fun toppings to meals, which can make a big difference.

Breakfast Hacks:

1. Breakfast Sandwich Bagel

Choose from the variety of bagels put out at breakfast time and toast it. Then, add eggs, bacon, spinach, and shredded cheese.

2. Better Granola

Add cranberries and sunflower seeds (found at the salad station) to the granola found at the fruit and yogurt station.

3. Peanut Butter Banana Toast

Grab a banana from the fruit stand, cut it into pieces, and add to peanut butter toast.

Lunch/Dinner Hacks:

1. Bagel Sandwich 

Bagels may still be out from the breakfast shift. Use one to make a fancy sandwich, which you can spice up by adding veggies and sauce from the salad station.

2. Not-So-Plain Pizza

Grab your favorite pizza toppings from the salad station (or the fruit station if you’re team pineapple), and go over to the pizza station. Get the toppings on your plate first so you can just plop them on while the pizza is still hot!

3. Caesar Salad Wrap 

Try out a spinach tortilla and pile on your favorite toppings. Then, add Caesar dressing from the beloved salad station (if you're lucky, they'll have parmesan cheese, too). 

4. Super Soup

Add goldfish or croutons to your tomato soup if you’re in the mood for dinner cereal. Make a grilled cheese with the panini press for the side if you’re feeling extra.

Dessert Hacks: 

(Because dessert is a meal, too)

1. Ice Cream Float

Grab a cup with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, and add coke. Of course, you can use any flavor combo you want, but don't forget a spoon!

2. Cereal for Dessert

Add your favorite cereal toppings to your ice cream when the dessert station toppings are running low.

3. "Cookiewich"

The results are best when cookies are fresh and hot. Grab two cookies and a scoop of ice cream for the middle for the perfect ending to any meal.

I’ve been bored with the dining hall for quite some time now. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes they bring out nice surprises, but you'll learn not to rely on that. Remember that you’re paying for this food, so you may as well make the most of it!

I always survey all of my options before deciding A) if I need to get creative and B) just how I’ll do it. I hope you found these hacks helpful or at least entertaining, and I encourage you to get creative with your meals. As with everything else in life, don’t be afraid to be a little extra.