As we all know, Vanderbilt has an interesting dining system. At various locations around campus, you’re limited to only one entrée, two sides and a drink. Or one entrée, three sides and a water. Or one entrée, one side and two drinks. Or perhaps just five Rand cookies.

Regardless, many express frustration at the lack of flexibility in the dining system and claim that the amount of food you can get is restricted, since it is clearly not an all-you-can-eat system. However, there are countless hidden ways that you can get extra food, and do so entirely legally. Here are some tips I have learned from a few trusted sources on campus. And by trusted sources, I mean students just like you, who have learned how to be manipulative in the most benign of ways.

vanderbilt dining hall

Photo by Lily Williams

1. Go to the Grill in Rand, and get chili on your sandwich. Soup and a sandwich equals one entrée. Enough said.

2. Use to-go boxes. Much more food can fit into the recesses of a to-go box. Plus you get all of those cute little compartments that just so happen to prevent your baked potato from touching your fruit. Unfortunately, there’s not a more environmentally friendly way to do this, but I blame this on the fact that there is one single 10-foot-long tray return per building that is supposed to facilitate the feeding of seven thousand undergraduates.

3. Get a PB&J. But wait, don’t assemble it. Peanut butter is free. Jelly is free. Bread is free. A PB&J is not free. Put those condiments on one plate and that bread on another plate, and put it together at your table (if you can find one in Rand). Rolls also do not count as anything, those delicious little puffs of air.

4. Get a taco salad without the shell. If you ask for it on a plate, you get all the ingredients of a taco salad and also have the ability to add additional toppings from the salad bar or any other station. Plus, you’re not tempted to eat the fried shell, which inevitably negates every healthy thing that you have eaten in the past 72 hours (if you care about that sort of thing, that is).

5. I’m not saying hide items underneath other items. I’m not saying that at all…