The first dozen or so times you eat at the dining hall, it’s not too bad.

In fact, I actually thought it was pretty great and was perfectly content eating there daily. But the multitude of charmingly-named food stations gives off a false impression of endless variety. Unlike the artificial crab meat in the salad line, the dining hall meals grow old. If you haven’t already, you’ll soon realize the only real “variety” in the dining hall is whether your fries are curly or straight, your sauce marinara or alfredo and your misery toasted or pressed.

To combat the perilous banality of the campus dining halls, take a look at this list of a few creative ways to revive the lost excitement of your dining hall experience. The university, of course, doesn’t make this task easy by placing restrictions on DIY food hacks (most notably, prohibiting adding things to waffle mix). Nonetheless, this list, which follows all dining hall guidelines, will add a much needed jolt to your bland dorm room diet.

1) Peanut Butter Cereal

Ever look at your morning corn flakes and think, “I wish this was stickier?” Add some protein to your breakfast with a peanut-butter-coated bowl. 

Patrick Ronan/The Badger Herald

Ingredients

  1. One bowl of cereal ~ $0.79
  2. One empty bowl ~ Free
  3. Peanut Butter ~ Free
  4. Milk ~ $1.19

2) Pizza Bagels

The childhood treat lives on. Throw some marinara and cheese on a bagel, then microwave it to create a hot circle of culinary ecstasy.

Patrick Ronan/The Badger Herald

Ingredients

  1. Bagel ~ $1.32
  2. Shredded cheese from pasta line ~ Free
  3. Marinara sauce from pasta line ~ Free
  4. (Optional) Toppings from the salad bar ~ $0.50

3) Shirley Temple

Hit up the soda fountain and approximate the staple virgin drink of your adolescence.

Patrick Ronan/The Badger Herald

Ingredients

  1. ¾ Sierra Mist
  2. ¼ Cranberry Juice Cocktail ~ $0.59

4) Breakfast Waffle Sandwich

Everything from the breakfast buffet just had a sweet orgy. You missed it, but you can still enjoy the outcome – take a bite of this early morning masterpiece.

Patrick Ronan/The Badger Herald

Ingredients

  1. Waffle mix ~ $2.07
  2. Fried Egg ~ $0.69
  3. Bacon ~ $1.25
  4. Sausage ~ $1.25

5) Cookie Sandwich

Satisfy your sweet tooth with this compact heart attack. Your mouth will thank you, the rest of the body will hold a grudge for several days. Milk recommended.

Patrick Ronan/The Badger Herald

Ingredients

  1. Two cookies ~ $1.39
  2. Peanut Butter ~ Free
  3. Whipped Cream ~ Free
  4. Cocoa Krispies ~ $0.29

Happy snacking!