I would like to preface this article by mentioning that I and others would classify me as a somewhat “picky” eater. I have my limits, but I also do enjoy many foods others will not eat. Yes, I don’t like ketchup or mayo, but put some chicken hearts in front of me and I’ll gobble them down.
With that in mind, I have a hard time finding good food that makes me feel full and satisfied in my dining hall. Many other peers would also agree with me, but this isn’t about my go-to fix for everyone, this is what I do that works for me and my appetite.
I need to eat a lot, I lift weights six days a week, and I average well over 10,000 steps a day. I’m a busy girl and I don’t stop moving. My dining hall, while it has plenty of options, lacks healthy variety. Yes, any day I want pizza or a burger or french fries, they will be there, but what if I want some rice, chicken and a vegetable? It’s questionable whether or not my dining hall will have adequately cooked, heated, and available options for me. My personal survival tips are grabbing a big bowl, and putting together “ingredients” from the different stations. My base is normally any non-crunchy rice I can find, some baby spinach from the salad bar, and if they have it grilled chicken from our grill. From there I will go to the front station and get whatever vegetable they are offering, maybe cooked peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, and if I’m lucky maybe they will have a bean stew so I can add a little bit of moisture into my dish. This outline of rice protein, beans, and miscellaneous veggies is my basic outline for what I eat for around 80% of my dinners at my university. It gets boring and expected really fast.
If my usual isn’t floating my boat, or the “ingredients” aren’t there, I will make a meal in my dorm with items from the dining hall. I always have my basics in my room, like dried pasta, noodles, and tortillas, and I will bring my plastic containers to the dining hall to get what I need to make a dish. I’ve made an onion tomato spinach pasta by getting uncooked veggies and ingredients from the salad bar, olive oil from the dressing bar, and chili flakes and oregano from the pizza bar. I like to chef it up on a budget since it’s not my fault that the dining hall I pay for does not provide me with satisfying food.
My experience is always about settling, and taking it day by day as it is. I also have to be creative and not subject myself to what they have prepared, they provide me with the elements I make the meals.