Food, How-to, Student Life

Dining Hall Hacks

A photo of a waffle on top of a dining hall table.

I’m not sure what the nutritional content of waffles are, but they’re definitely delicious.

 The words “cafeteria food” conjure up images of french fries and ketchup as “veggies,” and freezer-burned pizza as a food group. However, with ample on-campus dining options available, U of T students do not have to fall victim to the trope of inedible college food, accompanied by a strict diet of cup noodles. While I feel very lucky to have a meal plan, the routine can grow monotonous. Over the course of the past year, I’ve found several dining hall hacks that help me make the most of my meal plan!

A photo of two cinnamon buns on a plate after being put in a waffle press.

This decadent breakfast will definitely satisfy any sweet tooth.

1. Cinnamon Bun Waffles

Unsure of whether to indulge in a waffle or a cinnamon bun? Why not have both! All you have to do is remove excess icing, and put the bun into the waffle press. By taking off the icing and re-adding it after, you’ll avoid the burnt sugar, and a sticky mess for the next user.

A photo of sliced bananas in a small bowl.

The first step of my banana-cinnamon waffle recipe.

2. Banana Cinnamon Waffles

Days when the waffle press is out at the dining hall are without doubt my favourite. To make a banana cinnamon waffle, I first take a ripe banana and cut it into a bowl. Depending on the banana’s size, I may only use half to prevent an unwelcome waffle maker explosion. Next, I add cinnamon and pour the batter into the bowl, ensuring that all slices are coated with waffle batter. After putting it into the waffle maker for about two minutes, I substitute the dining hall syrup for honey. Who said that dining hall meals can’t be gourmet? While this option also isn’t a particularly healthy, it’s definitely a delicious weekend treat!

Three slices of avocado toast.

An at-home rendition of avocado toast, which can easily be recreated on-campus!

3. BYOA (Bring Your Own Avocado)

Millennials are notorious for their fixation with avocados, but can you blame us? Nothing compares to the earth’s natural butter. Sometimes I like to go to a grocery store near campus to pick up some avocados. I’ll then bring one to the dining hall, and mix it with tomato, onion, spices. This works great as a topping for toast, especially with cheese on top!

4. Warm Cookies

Dining hall cookies are delicious, but they taste even better when heated up. During first year I blissfully ignored the sign above the dining hall toaster stating “Do not use to heat up cookies or pastries.” In the final month of school, I learned the hard way that cookies are highly flammable. After seeing my cookie burst into flames, I now opt for the microwave- which thus far has not produced any chocolate chip infernos. Add the warm cookie to ice cream, and you’re ready for an indulgent treat.

Do you have any dining hall hacks? Share them below!