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A Picky Eater’s Guide to the Northwestern Dining Halls

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northwestern chapter.

If you’re anything like me, you could be content with eating chicken tenders and mac and cheese everyday for lunch. But as we emerge into adulthood, we need to expand our palate. So, I put together a list of ways that us picky eaters can make our parents proud. These tips can be applicable to all of Northwestern’s dining halls or just eating around campus in general.  

Take a tour around the world … or the dining hall

Make it a goal to get one thing from every station. Every dining hall here has many different stations including: 

  • Comfort (your basics)
  • Rooted (plant based foods)
  • Pure Eats (nutritious foods)
  • Flame (grill)
  • 500 Degrees (pizza)
  • Salad bar (self explanatory)
  • Bakery and Dessert (essential)

You can check out what is being served at each station on the Dine on Campus app or website. Even if you don’t think you’re going to like something at a station, go have a look and put something on your plate—you could surprise yourself and your taste buds.

Have a dining hall buddy

Go with your best friend or that person you sit next to in your big lecture. Either way, I’m sure they would love to go to the dining hall with you … everybody wants friends to eat with. You might be surprised with what fun food combinations they come up with that could inspire you. Put at least one new food they get on your plate to try—trying new things is less scary with friends.

Start with a base

I have found this to be especially helpful to me. When I’m trying to go for a nutritious meal, I start by putting a bed of lettuce on my plate. I then move around each station mixing the foods into a salad. The regular salad bar toppings can get boring so it can be fun to add burnt brussel sprouts or hot honey chicken to your salad. And, if lettuce isn’t your thing, try something else to start with and report back to me how that is.

Keep a food scrapbook

Take pictures of your meals and save them to an album on your phone. You can even keep notes on what foods you liked/didn’t like. You can look back on your meals for future inspiration. I also like to send pictures of my plate to my family to show them that I am in fact trying new foods in college.

It’s okay to revert back to your old ways

If you had a long day, took a hard test or are just lazy, it’s okay to have those chicken tenders and mac and cheese (trust me, I’ve been there). These basic foods are popular for a reason and we deserve to have the comfort of our favorite childhood meals sometimes.

Take everything I said with a grain of salt (literally). Food is meant to nourish and fuel our bodies so whatever diet you follow is acceptable. These are just a handful of ways to expand your palate for those feeling adventurous.

Brooke Fein

Northwestern '26

Brooke Fein is a freshman student at Northwestern University studying Human Development in Context in the School of Education and Social Policy. She is so excited to be a part of the Her Campus team and loves writing about food, music, television, and fashion.