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Dining Hall Hacks

If you have already tried the recipes from “Not Your Mother’s Dorm-Room Recipes,” and you still aren’t satisfied do not fret, there is a plan B. The dining hall doesn’t always serve exactly what you want, at the time you want it but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more options! Dining halls at all colleges are filled with secrets hacks that you haven’t discovered yet, and that’s where this guide comes in. It’s all about taking advantage of the appliances they give you and trying new things. All of the ingredients are at the palm of your hands. After all, you’re paying for a dining plan who says you have to be limited to the designated meals for that day!? Below is a list of easy dining-hall hacks that you’re going to be thrilled to be introduced to!


(1.) Pasta Salad

This dish usually isn’t found in dining halls but it’s super good and even easier to make. Just get a bowl of regular pasta (it tends to be cold in the dining hall anyways) and then go to the salad bar and add feta cheese, olives, cucumbers, peppers, onions, really anything you’d like! Add some olive oil and vinegar dressing and there you have it, insta pasta salad!


(2.) Peanut Butter and Nutella Sandwich

A classic. When you don’t want to waste any time in the dining hall this is the hack for you. A recommendation I’ve heard recently is to use a cinnamon raison bagel as the bread! Toast it, or don’t and then just slap on the peanut butter and nutella. Even add banana slices to make the perfect lunch.

(3.) Quesadilla/Panini

The dining hall doesn’t always have quesadillas but they do always have the ingredients to make one! If you’re lucky enough to have a Panini presser, you’re lucky enough. For quesadillas just use a tortilla wrap, shredded cheese (at the salad bar), and whatever other ingredients you can find to toss in there! Fold it over and put it in the Panini presser to make an awesome dinner. Similarly, for a Panini just use the deli meats your dining hall is offering that day, make a sandwich, and then just put that in the presser too! Don’t limit yourself to the sandwich the dining hall has premade for you!

(4.) Greek Salad Wrap

This quick and easy recipe is not only delicious but healthy as well. I suggest grabbing two salad bowls and filling it with the usual suspects: lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, kalamata olives, hot pepper (if you want some spice,) and then balsamic or greek dressing. Put one bowl on top of the other so you can mix the salad to perfection and get the perfect salad to dressing ratio. Then just put it in a wrap and roll it up!  

(5.) Yogurt Parfait

Just grab a drinking glass and rotate between adding layers of yogurt, granola, and fruit. This should all be in the same station so you won’t be running around the dining hall. You also can’t go wrong with drizzling honey or adding chocolate chips to top it off!

(6.) Pizza Bagel/English Muffin

First you want to toast your dough of choice, a bagel or an English muffin. For a healthy alternative a whole wheat English muffin tastes just as good. After it’s toasted to your standards you’re going to want to use the tomato sauce usually located where the pasta is. From there put a fair amount of sauce on your bread and then use mozzarella cheese, which is usually found at the salad bar. Zap it in the public microwave until the cheese is melted and voila. Pizza that’s not only healthier than your dining hall’s but also just as good!

(7.) Waffle-Ice Cream Sandwich

For the days your dining hall’s cookies just aren’t up to par. Assuming you have access to a waffle maker and froyo machine or ice cream bar this desert is delicious. Just cook the waffle, if the maker is designed to make 4 single waffles in one big waffle you’ll only need half, and stuff it with froyo/ice cream. Feel free to add chocolate chips or fruit as well!


You pay far too much money to be getting “sick” of dining hall food one month in, make a change!

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