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Dining Hall Hacks

by Madison Cebular

Photography Courtesy of

One aspect of college that most people have a difficult time adjusting to is the dining hall. Although convenient, it can become monotonous after a while. To help you better navigate the dining hall and determine alternative meal ideas, check out the tips and tricks listed below.

On BU’s Dining Services website, students can look at the menus planned for that day by dining hall. Though not always completely accurate, the menus can be especially helpful for those who have dietary restrictions as they list which food options that day are vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and halal. The online menus can be a useful tool for deciding whether or not it’s worth a trip to the dining hall.

If you didn’t happen to check the menu before swiping in and don’t see anything appealing, deciding a go-to meal that never fails is a great back-up. For example, find a combination at the sandwich station or salad bar that is a safe meal option.

Another aspect of the dining hall that can be restrictive is that it doesn’t allow snacking. It can be annoying to have to buy your own snacks when you’re not hungry enough to waste a meal swipe. To try and fix this problem, make sure to always grab a snack before you leave, such as fruit, dry cereal or even a sandwich or bagel.

For students whose sports practices or club meetings run past the dining hall hours, Rhetty-To-Go meals can be an alternative to spending dining points at Late Night. Orders can be made on the BU Dining Services website before 8:00 pm the night before pick-up and can be paid for with a meal swipe.

“I have water polo practice till nine on Monday and Wednesday nights, so the dining hall is closed by the time I get back,” said Nick Rosenberger (ENG ’20). “The Rhetty-To-Go meals are so convenient just to have waiting for me when I get back to my room.”

If dining points are burning a hole in your pocket, make a trip to Buick Street Market and Café, located by StuVi 1 and go grocery shopping. This can be especially helpful if the dining hall you normally go to isn’t attached to your dorm.

“I load up on easy meals like oatmeal and fruit for the week at Buick because Danielsen feels so far away from the dining halls,” said Sydney Botko (CGS ’18, COM ’20). “It’s always a safer bet to eat my meals in my room so I don’t have to cushion my dining hall runs by 15 minutes.”

Finally, if the dining hall isn’t accommodating to your preferences or schedule that day, try out some modified dorm cooking, like sophomore Amy Tsai (CAS ’20).

“I didn’t really like dining [hall] food, and they were closed for most of the days during long holidays,” said Tsai about her freshman year experience.

As a solution, Tsai learned how to make scrambled and hard-boiled eggs in her microwave. She has even made non-bake cheesecake in her room before.

Though these food hacks probably won’t replace the dining hall as your primary source of food any time soon, they can add some welcomed variety to your meal routine every now and then. Bon appétit!

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