My dining hall hacks and favorites

Let’s say you run out of highly coveted dining and convenience points, and all you have left are meal swipes. Most of my peers would be devastated. However, I have found reasons to be excited about dining hall trips. During my first semester, I discovered my favorite meals and hacks you may not know about already. 

Spice up your salad

Going into college, I already adored salads. As a child, I never had a problem with vegetables, probably because my parents forced me to eat them. When I entered the dining hall during my accepted students’ day last spring, I knew that I would be frequenting the salad bar. There is something so exciting about making your own healthy, colorful meal.

Lila Baltaxe | Graphic Artist

By now, I have a go-to creation I make frequently. First, I go to the rice cooker and add plain rice to my bowl. I then make my way to the salad bar, add romaine or spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, olives, kidney beans, and feta cheese, and top it off with some raspberry vinaigrette. It may sound like an odd combination — but trust me — the flavors flow exquisitely.

Midway through last semester, I became obsessed with the make-your-own burrito/taco bowl station, which my friends and I have appropriately named the Chipotle station. I get it for dinner almost every night with chips on the side to dip in. It gives Chipotle a run for its money, especially because the Chipotle on Commonwealth Avenue does not take dining points.

Hummus is one of my all-time favorite foods. It was always such a staple in my diet back home. I was disappointed when I had no luck finding it in the dining hall. That was until I got to the sandwich counter. The sandwich station has hummus, guacamole, egg salad and chicken salad to name a few. I realized that if I wanted hummus, all I had to do was ask them to plop some on my plate. That being said, this is not always practical. Sometimes I am too hungry to wait in that long line for a plate of hummus.

But first, coffee

Don’t sleep on the dining hall coffee. We are lucky enough to have access to the well-regarded coffee company, La Colombe. I don’t feel the need to waste money at Starbucks everyday since I enjoy the coffee found in the dining hall just as much. You can customize your coffee with milk and creamer options. My preference is iced coffee with almond milk and hazelnut creamer.

Fenway all the way

Chances are you have heard about the Fenway dining hall. Have you ever ventured to eat there? If you haven’t, it needs to be on your list of priorities. The trek is not as far as people make it out to be. It’s about a 20-minute walk from Central Campus. This dining hall is much different from West, Warren or Marciano. It is smaller, with fewer options, but the food tastes fresher. As a pescatarian, my concern about going there was that there would not be enough meat-free options. This worry was not necessary. I had freshly cooked Mediterranean vegetables, which included mushrooms and grape tomatoes. There was hummus at the salad bar, so I did not have to wait in line at the sandwich station. I loved the selection of coffee and tried a caramel toffee flavor and an almond amaretto flavor. I wish I had stumbled upon the Fenway dining hall earlier.

Sometimes I miss home-cooked meals or want restaurant-quality food, but I’ve found ways to appreciate the dining hall experience. It’s all about discovering what works or doesn’t work for your taste. 

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