As the semester progresses further along, a rising question formulates for many college students, especially at Loyola University Chicago. What am I going to eat today? It's that point in the year when we are starting to get tired of the dining hall and have already had our 5th hamburger for the week because nothing else looks appealing. We're also too broke to eat out or even buy groceries.

As a sophomore still on the Loyola meal-plan, I can tell you now that it does not get any easier. Eating the same hamburger or salad everyday gets old; we need options. That is when you have to get creative and work with what Damen or De Nobili gives you. Trust me, Thanksgiving break is a long time to wait for real food. Until then, try some of these dining hall hacks that will add a little spice to your daily diet. 

1. Chicken Caesar Salad 

For the days you feel like you need to redeem yourself from the whole pizza you consumed the day before, try a chicken caesar salad. Just grab some salad, a chicken patty, or as my roommate likes to call it, a giant chicken nugget, and add some cheese and caesar dressing. If you're lazy, like me. you can easily slice the chicken patty as you go.  

2. Brownie/Cookie Sundae

Depending on the dessert options in the dining hall that day, grab a bowl and a cookie or brownie. Then add the ice cream. I recommend adding some chocolate sauce or chocolate chips to really top it off. It may not be Ghirardelli, but it's still sure to satisfy your cravings. 

3. Buttered Noodles

Instead of choosing between Alfredo, marinara, or sometimes cheese sauce, head over to the station near the toaster in De Nobili and smear some butter on a plate. Hand it to the chef at the pasta station and they can add it to your noodles. It sure beats the bland marinara sauce offered on the daily. 

4. Peanut Butter and Banana Toast/Sandwich

Since coming to Loyola, I have gotten into the totally underrated combo of peanut butter toast and bananas. Whatever the time of day, it's the perfect choice. All you have to do is toast some bread, spread on some peanut butter and slice up a banana to add to it. You will not be disappointed. 

5. Chicken Wrap

The next time you're in Damen and they have chicken patties, or as my roommate likes to call them, giant chicken nuggets, grab one or two and bring it over to the panini station. The chef will slice them up and add it to a sandwich or a wrap. The rest is up to you.

6. Waffle Sundae

A waffle sundae is probably more obvious, but none-the-less good for the days you want to treat yourself to something other than the rubbery eggs for breakfast. Just make your waffle in the waffle-maker and head over to the ice cream machine. Then add some ice cream toppings of your choosing, the more the merrier. 

7. Chipotle Burrito

Channel your inner fast food worker and whip up a burrito similar to Chipotle's. Simpson is the best place to go because of the daily taco bar, but on occasion De Nobili or Damen will have their own. Just take a soft taco shell and add some meat, rice and your choice of toppings. The next time you go to Chipotle pay attention to how they wrap their burritos and mimic those skills in the dining halls. Trust me, it works so much better and makes it more authentic. 

8. Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

Like the brownie/cookie sundae, you can do the same thing with two cookies. Just grab two cookies and place them in a bowl because who knows if the ice cream is looking for like a milkshake that day (ugh). When you've finished, add the other cookie to the top. If you want to get real boujee, roll the sides in chocolate chips or sprinkles.

9. Tea

If you are an avid, broke tea drinker, this hack is for you. The next time you're in the dining halls try stealing some tea bags and hide them in your pocket (or don't, trust me no one will judge). Purchase a cheap 1-2 gallon beverage container from Target. Add some water, place a few tea bags in it, and wait for it to brew. And just like that you're saving some money!

10. Cheese Fries

This hack is more of a hit or miss, but totally worth it. Every once in awhile Damen or DeNobili will have cheese sauce and nachos. If you're lucky, there will also be fries that day too. Instead of putting it on nachos, spice up your fries. Sometimes, they'll even have chili. 

We've all been there. It's difficult to not go for the same options at every meal just because it's the most convenient. These hacks will go a long way in the dining hall and get you through until the next break when you can go home and eat real food again.