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19 Food Hacks For College Cafeterias

Use that fancy college brain to make your meal plan work for you.

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1. Turn hard-boiled eggs into deviled eggs.

Jonathan Sit /

Peel the eggs, take the yolks out, mix with mayo, mustard, relish, and salt and pepper. Put back in the eggs. Throw some salad-bar bacon bits on that business. BLACK MAGIC.

Check out Ratty Gourmet for more dining hall recipes from two Brown students.

2. Soft-serve ice cream, meet cereal bar.

Connie & Annie Wu /

This particular high-low combo is olive oil (it's really good on ice cream, trust) and Rice Krispies. Could also imagine Cocoa Puffs doing something very special here.

3. Make boring baked potatoes awesome by twice-"baking" them in the microwave.

Sarah Cunningham /

Mash up the insides with a fork, mix in cheese and anything else you like from the salad bar (scallions, bacon bits, etc.), and microwave for a minute to help everything meld.


4. Collect ingredients to make your own trail mix.

Chocolate and nuts from the ice cream toppings, dried fruit and sunflower seeds from the salad bar, plus whatever cereal makes your heart sing.

Bring a ziplock bag to the dining hall and take it with you for snacking between classes (or in them).

5. Steam your own veggies in the microwave.

Instead of dealing with whatever limp, gray vegetal matter is awaiting you in a steam tray, cook raw veggies from the salad bar (broccoli, carrots, peppers, etc) by microwaving them in a bowl with a little water until they're crunchy-tender. Then you can dress them with olive oil, salt, and maybe a little lemon from the drinks station (if you're feeling frisky). Get more detailed instructions here.


13. Customize boring dining hall pasta.

Connie & Annie Wu /

You can add cheese, veggies, butter, spices, and all kinds of things that will most likely make you a better meal than a sad, lumpy tomato sauce loaded with mystery meat. Above is a version with peas, bacon bits, and Parmesan, and here are 10 more smart ideas.

15. Cook pita pizzas in the microwave.

gabriellegallant /

Sauce from the pasta line, cheese and veggies from the salad bar, plus chicken or ham if you're feeling carnivorous. Toasted English muffins are also an excellent platform for mini pizzas.


18. A waffle maker means infinite mix-in possibilities.

Yeah, you could just put the plain waffle batter straight on there. But what are you, some kind of chump? Put the batter in a separate bowl before you make your waffles and go crazy: peanut butter, sprinkles, nuts, chocolate sauce, cheese and bacon, you name it.