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Aug 20 2015
by Isabell Gerbig

Dining Hall Hacks You Have to Try

By Isabell Gerbig - Aug 20 2015

School food has a bad rep. Mysterious meatloaf, pizza as a "vegetable", that pile of mush that you don't even want to think about...all of it just makes school so much more unbearable. College food is considerably better, but it still has a same doubtful nature to it. Of course, with a lot more choices, it makes it much easier to avoid the "Surprise Casserole" and cook up your own options. Here are some recipes for those who want to push the boundaries. 

1. Blueberry-Banana Bonanza


If you're lucky enough to have a blender in your dining hall, this recipe is the one for you! For those of you who have blenders in your dorm room, just sneak the ingredients into a cup and blend away in the comfort of your own room. This drink is the perfect breakfast smoothie as it is light yet filling. It'll get you pumped to start your day and (possibly) make you more motivated to eat healthier and exercise more. 

Just peel a banana into your blender, add a handful of blueberries, a generous spoonful of yogurt or a splash of milk for the flavor. For the extra kick, add some spinach and sunflower seeds (if available) from your salad bar. Yes, it IS that easy!

2. Deviled Eggs DIY


Who doesn't love some deviled eggs? They're the ultimate homesickness cure AND they're ridiculously easy to make. Grab a bunch of hard boiled eggs (it's only worth it to make in bulk) and peel them. Cut them in half and take out the yolks. Mix in mayo, relish, mustard, and of course salt and pepper to taste. Add in some spice. Mush everything up nice and smooth, then fill the empty egg whites up again. This process will take a maximum of 5 minutes and is sure to make you friends.

3. Root Beer Float/Soda Float


Whoever invented the soft serve machine needs to be made a national hero. It's like the gift that never stops giving. On campus, soft serve is to college students as fame is to the Kardashians: you just can't get enough of it. But hey, why stop at just eating plain old soft serve? Why not pair it with your favorite soda and make an even more delicious sugary delight? College is a time for experimentation, people! 

4. Grilled (Mac and) Cheese


It is universally acknowledged that anything that comes in the shape of a sandwich will automatically be delicious. From club to ice-cream, sandwiches are the epitome of college fine dining. It doesn't take much skill to make a sandwich, and pretty much every school has toast or some form of bread at every meal. So, next time the cafeteria ladies put out the mac and cheese, WATCH OUT! Mac and cheese is carby deliciousness, but slap it between a couple pieces of toast and it instantly becomes something you would find at a hipster food truck. 

Bonus tip: Butter the toast, throw in some bacon pieces from the salad bar, then put it in a panini press. Golden temptation!

5. Veggie Delight


For the sake of our mothers, I have to throw in a vegetable recipe. Every once in a while, eating a salad will do you some good. But why eat a boring, cold, sad salad when you could spice it up and actually enjoy eating healthy? Every time you get a salad, fill up your plate with leafy greens and whatever toppings you want. Basically, make a regular old salad. Then head over to the hot food line and add on some warm veggies and some protein. The mix of cold vegetables and the warm dish will instantly make the salad a lot more enjoyable and filling. If you live in the Northeast, this neat trick will prevent you from ever complaining about it "being too cold to eat salad" ever again (yup, you're welcome).

Lead Image: Serious Eats

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Isabell Gerbig - Bryn Mawr College

Isabell Gerbig is a freshman at Bryn Mawr College, planning to major in Comparative Literature. She’s a Third Culture Kid and started learning her fourth and fifth language in high school. As a former swimmer, she empathizes with everyone who still has to endure morning practices. Instagram: isabellringingg.

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