If you are like me, with every swipe at Nelson, Boyd or Shively, you want to get the most out of your meal — yes, I mean nutritionally, but what about all that money we pay for our dining plan? If you’re bored with the same options each time you dine in (or do take out), spruce up your meal with my dining hall hacks.
1. Travel mugs and Tupperware are your new best friends.Alright, first of all, I should make it clear that the key is (obviously) to not go straight from serving location to storable container. Instead, use the plates and cups from the dining hall, then transfer over any food you want to take back with you.
2. Cereal CanistersFroot Loops, Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, oh my! Cereal is always great to snag because it’s not perishable and it’s also one of the key college food groups.
3. Veggies and DipYou can bring zip lock bags and easily tote celery, sliced carrots, sliced bell peppers, etc. Sometimes there are packets of dressing (snag a few next time you hit up Boyd Grab ‘n Go), or just pour some into a small reusable container. Now you’ll have twice the amount of energy at your study session later instead of noshing on a bag of Doritos. Your body will thank you.
4. CaFREEine!Take a travel mug with you and fill it up with hot, fresh coffee in the silver canisters, usually by the cereal/breakfast area. They always have 2%, skim, soy, almond, and even chocolate milk conveniently located nearby. Oh, and sometimes there is a whipped cream canister too! Guess who just saved $3 at the coffee shop? YOU DID.
5. ChiliJazz up this fall favorite by adding sour cream — there is a bottle of it at Fuego, the Mexican place inside Shively — and shredded cheese from the salad bar. If you want to kick up the heat, you can always add jalapeños to your chili too!
6. Chicken and WafflesWhen in Nelson, waffles aren’t just for breakfast! If the grill line is serving chicken patties or chicken fingers, you are good to go. Toppings or condiments are optional.
7. Taco SaladSave yourself the carbs and calories by putting all your favorite taco and burrito fillings on top of a bed of lettuce or spring mix from the salad bar. The servers at Fuego are really chill about this! What’s also yummy? Adding the chili hacks from above to your leafy greens.
8. Trail MixCombine everything in a sealed sandwich bag for a quick snack later. Choose from cereal, dried fruit and sunflower seeds from the salad bar, chocolate chips and crushed nuts from the sundae bar… anything goes!
9. Caramel Apple SlicesMake the most of the dining hall apples while they are in season by dipping them in caramel from the ice cream toppings area.
10. Floats of All KindsYou could stick to vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt with root beer … then you could also try Sunkist with vanilla (creamsicle) or Coke with chocolate. It’s a treat that is basically impossible to mess up.
With a little creative thinking and a little sneakiness, you will be dominating the dining halls in no time. In fact, you’ll most likely start a trend or two with other people catching on. But, Bobcats love helping each other out (almost) as much as grabbing a bite to eat. Now… to make those long lunch and dinner lines disappear…