American Culture, College tips, Life at FIU

Your Recipe For Dining Hall Happiness


It’s easy for international students to find the dining hall confusing, intimidating or even weird. Why are so many things fried or covered in cheese? This is not the America you signed up for.

But don’t worry – it is possible to eat well at school. Load up your plate with these tips and soon you’ll be enjoying your trips to the dining hall even more.


Be Adventurous

A GIF with the words "did you just mention food?"

Think of the dining hall as your chance to try a variety of new ingredients, dishes and cuisines. You don’t have to try everything all at once, and you won’t love every new thing you do try. But this is a great opportunity to expand your taste and knowledge of food.


Tip: If you’re nervous or a picky eater, make it a goal to try at least one new thing each week. You’ll discover some new foods you like without overwhelming yourself.


Give Things a Second Chance

A GIF with the words" Food is on of my Favorite Parts Of The Day"

If you didn’t like a particular ingredient or dish before, try it again. That gives you a chance to see if you like it prepared a different way. Or you might now like vegetables you hated as a kid because your taste buds have changed. For instance, broccoli won’t taste as strong compared to when you were younger.


Tip: If you’re especially hungry, definitely try something you didn’t like before. You’ll find it tastes better because you’re so eager to eat. Perfect for vegetables or other foods you want to like but don’t – yet. 


Eat Healthy

A GIF of a little kid eating SpaghettiHuffington Post

Lots of college students get the “Freshman 15,” or weight gained during the stressful first year of college. To help maintain healthy eating habits, try to balance your plate with equal portions of vegetables or fruit, protein and starches like rice or pasta.

Tip: Slow down when eating because your body needs time – at least 20 minutes – to realize you’re full. Think of it a great excuse to talk with friends or just relax during a busy day. For more nutrition and portion control tips, check out Be Choosy In The Dining Hall.


Get Creative

A GIF with the words " I like being weird"


It’s easy to get bored in the dining hall. Luckily, unlike at restaurants it’s easy to explore and get creative. Look around the dining hall and you’ll see people doing “odd” things. So go ahead, eat cereal for dinner or combine ingredients from the salad bar with your pasta. Whatever makes you happy. 


Tip: Ask other students how they add variety to their dining hall meals. It’s a fun conversation starter, and you’ll discover some interesting and tasty ideas too.


Check Out All of Your Options

A GIF with the words " I love food more than I love people"

If you get the first good looking dish you see, you might miss out on something better. Take a walk around to see what’s available, and then get your tray. That encourages variety and you won’t feel like you’re missing out.

Tip: Use the suggestion box in your dining hall to request even more variety, such as recipes from home or items you like that they haven’t served lately.

If you’re ready to sign up for university in America, click here!

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