As most college students know, diner food is never really the bright spot at any university. Like ever. I’m not too sure there’s a school out there where students actually enjoy the food that their school provides for them. Such a first world problem though, right? And let me tell you, I am very thankful that this is such an insignificant problem to have. But in my opinion, if students pay tons of money to be on campus and have a meal plan, then it should be an unwritten rule that we enjoy what we eat. I mean, I think it’s the LEAST that colleges can do for us as students.
But it’s not even that. For me, I’m just looking for food that is nutritious and can sustain me. I found out pretty recently that I have a gluten allergy and cannot eat wheat. Add this on to my vegetarian (and occasional pescatarian) diet, and my food choices are limited…severely limited.
So this is why I’m doing my blog this week on surviving the diner. I want prospective SXU students, as well as current faculty, staff, and students to be able to navigate their way around our sucky (sorry, not sorry) diner in order to find food that not only is enjoyable, but healthy as well.
-The Salad Bar
This is my saving grace in the cafeteria. Normally, there are three kinds of lettuce to choose from, an assortment of dressing, and lots of protein filled toppings. A vegetarian like me can appreciate the cottage cheese, garbanzo beans, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and various veggies they put out. If you’re looking for fresh, non processed food, this is what you need to get. The only downfall is that it is priced by weight.
-The Sandwich Station
Not my favorite part. There’s really not much for people with wheat allergies to get, especially when they run out of gluten free bread. But for people who can eat that, it’s not bad. There’s tons of sandwiches to choose from and a build your own option as well. The Buffalo Chicken Wrap and Panini’s are popular options for meat eaters. Vegans and vegetarians, warm hummus on a sandwich is like a gift from God. Soooooo good.
-The Fried Section (aka the Grill)
If you’re a healthy eater, avoid this. At all costs. Fried chicken tenders, french fries, pizza, mac and cheese…you get the drift. A healthier option would be to get a veggie burger or a whole wheat or corn tortilla quesadilla. Obviously things loaded with cheese aren’t the greatest for your arteries, but it’s the best suggestion I can give. Try to load it with more veggies than cheese & pray the calories won’t matter? (it helps…sometimes)
PS, egg white omelets are served every morning…if you can drag yourself outta bed in time to get ‘em!
-The 2nd Salad Bar and Soup
Yes, we have two salad stations, but this one is only open during lunch time. Not much different than the other salad bar, just a few more options and a chef can toss it with dressing for you. Yeah, doesn’t make much sense to me either. Negativity aside, the soups are actually pretty decent. They’re from Au Bon Pain so you know they’re good. Try Curied Rice and Lentil and Garden Vegetable if you’re looking for meat free options. And from what I’ve heard, the Vegetable Beef Barley and Baked Potato are delicious if you like to eat meat.
-”The Closest Thing to a Home Cooked Meal You Can Find at SXU” station
So I didn’t know what to call this part of the diner, but basically it’s where you can find food that your parents have probably made for you at some point in your life. It’s hit or miss whether or not you’ll actually like what is in this section, but my favorite part about it is Meatless Mondays. This is usually when quinoa and tofu are served. Another favorite of mine are the black bean enchiladas. Not a vegan or vegetarian? You can find things like jerk chicken, steak, pork chops, orange chicken, and other various meats in here. There are also sides and veggies to go along with it.
-Other various options
Last but not least, the little odds and ends within the diner. Fresh fruit is served every day (apples, bananas, oranges, fruit cups), as are breakfast & protein bars. NAKED juice and mini Sabra hummus containers are popular options for a quick on the go snack. As are greek yogurts and Gatorade protein shakes. And don’t forget about Starbucks and Subway! Both are located right on campus and are a big part of how I survive diner food.
I know it seems like a daunting task at first, but honestly, once you get used to it, it’s not that hard to find quality things to eat here. Sometimes it’s frustrating though. But what I have come to learn is that you just have to make it work. Because let’s be honest here, if you don’t, what the heck are you gonna eat??