A how-to for the halls

Tips and tricks for making the most out of your meal plan

A group of girls seated in a cafeteria.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

At some point in every university student’s life, they will be faced with the gut-wrenching food of their campus cafeteria.

The cafeterias in Ban Righ and Leonard Hall may at first seem like a freshmen’s heaven — with their copious amounts of food of various tastes and textures — but having pizza every night quickly gets old. 

Navigating your way through the cafeteria can be a difficult task and, unfortunately, your mother won’t be there to help you. Thankfully, I’ve conquered a year of weird-looking, odd-smelling and gross-tasting food, so you don’t have to. 

I’ve put together a complete guide of dining hall tips and tricks to help you get through first year with your stomach intact. 

Cereal

During the school week, there’s barely enough time to eat breakfast, let alone mission out to a cafeteria in the morning. If you’re a hungry riser, store your favourite cereal and milk in your room for a quick bite before class. 

Don’t have cereal? The next time you go to either Leonard or Ban Righ, bring a plastic zip-lock bag with you and slyly fill it with your preferred cereal. To complete your meal, head to either the Lazy Scholar in Victoria Hall or Gord’s in Gordon-Brockington for milk.

Parfait

If you don’t have an 8:30 a.m. class and you’re craving a good breakfast, venture out to one of the cafeterias and make yourself a parfait — a fancy and delicious breakfast. 

Scout out the yogurt, then add some fruit, granola and honey for a flavourful taste. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, include a teaspoon of peanut butter in the recipe. 

Two for one

In university, it’s all about saving your little-to-no money. Practice this routine by saving up your meals. To do this, head to Ban Righ for a long and leisurely meal or two. 

Arrive around 10:30 in the morning so you can get the breakfast and lunch menu all for one meal purchase. Now, that’s bang for your buck. Your parents would be proud. 

Coffee & tea  

While the cafeteria’s coffee is no Starbucks, it will get you through the day. Bring a portable mug with you, and fill it with your preferred coffee, tea or cold beverage. 

If you’re not a coffee drinker, you can ask the ice cream lady in Leonard for a specific kind of tea, which she keeps hidden behind the counter. 

Salad 

If you’re longing for a decent salad, go to Leonard. Although their salad bar can sometimes be rotten and unappetizing, you can create a delicious salad after you’ve picked through the bad vegetables. 

From there, dress it up with either quinoa or couscous. If that doesn’t do the trick, just head to Botterell Hall and purchase a salad with your meal card. 

Steamed vegetables 

Create your own steamed vegetables with the raw broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and snow peas from Leonard’s salad bar. Place them in the microwave with a bowl of water for a couple minutes until fully steamed. 

Peanut butter and fruit

Satisfy your sweet tooth with a cup of fruit and a side of peanut butter. When you’re in Leonard Hall, make sure you track down the bananas before they’re all gone. Don’t be afraid to get a little greedy and take an extra one for snack later. Your stomach will thank you.  

Sriracha sauce 

Spice up the cafeteria’s dull food with a little or a lot of Sriracha. If the cafeteria doesn’t have Sriracha or a comparable hot sauce, I suggest buying your own and bringing it in a little container. Put it on any tasteless meal to give it a flavourful kick. 

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