Even though the UC Davis dining halls have a wide variety of options available, it can be tempting to choose a few favorite dishes and eat them for every single meal. And while there's nothing wrong with having some solid go-to meals, eventually that can get a little boring. These five UC Davis dining hall hacks will help you get shake up your routine and have more fun with your meals!

Caprese Grilled Cheese

Katherine Weltzien

Grilled cheese was the food of my childhood, and to this day it is one of my all-time favorites. But since we're in college now, it's time to take the classic bread and cheese combo to the next level.

To make this caprese-inspired grilled cheese, spread a slice of bread with arugula-walnut pesto from the salad bar (it’s not there everyday, so be sure to take advantage when you see it), layer on a couple slices of mozzarella, add tomato slices and spinach, top with another slice of sourdough, and grill it in the panini press until the cheese melts and the bread gets crispy.

Breakfast Banana Split

Katherine Weltzien

If you're getting up early for a weekday breakfast, you might as well do it in style. Simply halve a banana, dollop on a scoop of plain yogurt, drizzle with almond butter, and sprinkle on plenty of fun toppings (fresh fruit, dried fruit, chopped nuts, etc.). This insta-worthy breakfast will take your morning meal from "meh" to marvelous, and it's easy enough to make that you don't have to worry about being late for class.

Fried Rice

Katherine Weltzien

When nothing else in the dining hall sounds appealing, it's easy to turn to the dependable goodness that is the Mongolian wok station. But when it’s only Wednesday and you've already eaten at the wok for three meals, it's nice to change it up a little by replacing the usual noodle bowl with a version of fried rice.

To make this dish, load up a bowl with your favorite veggies at the salad bar, add a couple scoops of rice, and bring it over to the wok. There you can add extra veggies and seasonings (the offerings change daily, but broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers are all great ways to add flavor and crunch), and then they’ll add in chicken or tofu and whip up delicious stir-fry that’s a pretty solid approximation of fried rice.

London Fog

Katherine Weltzien

I love sipping on a sweet, creamy, aromatic London fog, also known as an earl grey latte, while studying at a coffee shop, but I don’t love that the drink usually sets me back at least $4. It turns out, however, that you can make your own in the dining hall and it's surprisingly easy and delicious! To start, fill a mug about one-quarter of the way with boiling water, steep a bag of earl grey tea for five minutes, and stir in a spoonful of honey. Fill a separate mug with steamed milk from the espresso machine, carefully add the steamed milk to the tea, and enjoy cozy coffee shop vibes without having to leave the dining hall.

Grain Bowl

Katherine Weltzien

Most of the time I love experimenting and trying new foods, but some days all I want is something super easy and simple. On those days, you can make a warm, comforting grain bowl using the rice, beans, and roasted veggies offered at the starch bar. Then head to the salad bar and top your bowl with a scoop of hummus, a sprinkle of cheese and drizzle of a dressing of your choice (I personally believe that lemon-tahini is the way to go.)

If you're someone who loves experimenting with new recipes and getting creative in the kitchen, it can be hard to adjust to the limitations of the dining hall. With these five UC Davis dining hall hacks you'll be able to enjoy fun, innovative meals without ever turning on the oven or dirtying a single pan!