Ah, Usdan. All of my friends know that  I complain about Usdan, but also that they will never hear me complain about the food there (mostly just the inevitable chaos that it is home to every day at noon).

I wrote this article to equip you with all the tools you need so that you will only ever find reason to complain about how long you have to wait before you eat its delicious offerings, not the food itself. 

The folks at Usdan do a great job of providing the Wesleyan community with a healthy variety of food options, and this guide offers a little creative inspiration for those who not only want to survive in Usdan, but thrive there. 


Survival (Thrival?) Tip #1: Do not wait in the omelette line. 

tomato, salad, cherry, cheese, pasta
Eliza Wilkins

Please. It is sad for the smart person you're sitting with (who's probably already read this guide), and it is sad for you. You can just grab some scrambled eggs from classics (cheesy if you are really wanna eat brunch like a champion) and top it with tomato, carrots, greens, and more cheese.  

#SpoonTip: Add some greens (ideally spinach) to your plate before you add the eggs—the greens will wilt and take your scramble to the next level. 

Survival Tip #2: Oatmeal is your best friend. 

Eliza Wilkins

You can do so much with oatmeal: make PB&J oatmeal with peanut butter, strawberry sauce from the frozen strawberries, and Special K, for example. 

cream, dairy product, pudding, custard, sweet, milk
Eliza Wilkins

Or add frozen fruit, like peaches and blueberries, and white chocolate chips from the waffle bar. The oatmeal warms them up so that it's more like eating fresh fruit. Or add yogurt and granola from the salad bar to trick your mouth into thinking its having dessert for breakfast.

Back when Usdan had M&Ms, I used to make Monster Cookie Oatmeal with peanut butter, Rice Krispies, chocolate chips, and M&Ms. 

Survival Tip #3: Your yogurt is a blank canvas. 

Eliza Wilkins

Top that awesome local Ronnybrook yogurt with granola, chia, hemp, sunflower seeds from the salad bar and fruit from the salad bar or waffle bar.  


Survival Tip #4: Use the salad bar's fixings on everything. 

Eliza Wilkins

Here I made open face bagel sliders with baba ganoush, egg, chickpeas, pepper, tomato, spinach from the salad bar and one with guac from Mongo.  

Survival Tip #5: Craft Thursday fall dinner bowls.

Eliza Wilkins

This meal accomplished the impossible by using nearly every station. Butternut squash from kosher, potatoes and brussel sprouts from classics, craisins, sunflower seeds, and cranberry vinaigrette from the salad bar, quinoa from vegan, all topped with an over-easy egg.

You can only make this on Thursdays, when Usdan makes eggs for egg sandwiches. They probably won't serve the exact same menu options as I described above, but you can improvise.

If you're not blessed by serendipity like I was, you can not go wrong if you take a grain, some veggies, something crunchy, and something sweet and top it with a fried egg.

Survival Tip #7: Marry the soup and salad bar.

Eliza Wilkins

I like to sometimes add veggies and beans from the salad bar to tomato soup or lentils and quinoa to pasta fagioli.  

Eliza Wilkins

Adding broccoli to a creamy soup, like coconut corn or potato, really enhances the flavor and texture.  

Survival Tip #8: Make a Southwestern salad.

Eliza Wilkins

Prep your salad beforehand (with beans!) adding guac, sour cream, salsa etc. If desired, your salad can be made a lot tastier with the sautéed veggies from Mongo, and you can make a flavorful southwestern salad without waiting in line.

Survival Tip #9: Do wait in line when the Bon App Chefs are serving something from a kiosk. 

Eliza Wilkins

Always try any stand or little taste testing kiosk in Usdan. This tofu with sesame slaw was worth the wait. The Bon app chefs really know their stuff—I had a whole conversation with them about how to use kumquats.

Now I'm dreaming about a kumquat fennel salad...A preview of coming attractions? We'll see. 

Survival Tip #10: Avoid food waste whenever possible.

Eliza Wilkins

This poor, abandoned salad is just one example of the food waste that occurs on our campus. Don't be a part of the problem, be part of the solution. 

Due to the versatility of the options provided and the hard work of the Bon App employees, you can walk away from every dining hall meal nourished. You have no excuse to avoid Usdan. (Unless it's noon, then you have every excuse to steer clear of the the crowds.)