Savvy Sharples Food Hacks for the Bored Swattie

It’s no secret that dining hall food gets boring and Sharples can seem to have the same options over and over again. It’s easy to get bogged down by the repetition, but have no fear.  Your options don’t change, but changing the way you see them can make meals exciting. Here are the top five food hacks to spice up your dinner/lunch and excite your taste buds. Don’t worry—they’re healthy too. 🙂


Menu Item: Fried Shrimp (offered in meal rotation at lunch)

  • Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • Fried shrimp
  • Lettuce (Tip: I go with the romaine in the salad bar sandwich section and cut it up)
  • Onions
  • Sour Cream
  • Shredded Cheddar
  • Black Beans
  • Corn (Tip: if you don’t want cold beans and corn, throw them in the wok with some salt, pepper, and paprika. Now you have more flavor and warm toppings!)

Recipe:  This one is simple: just combine all ingredients in the tortilla.  Make sure to remove the tails of the shrimp.  And grab some seasoning near the wok to add some extra flavor.

Menu Item: Black Bean Burger – no bun (always offered at the grill)


  • Whole Wheat Tortillas14657242233_aeccd51bfd_z (1)
  • Cheese of choice
  • Onions
  • Black Bean Burger
  • Salsa

Recipe: First, get a Black Bean burger from the grill, no bun necessary. Then, make a quesadilla in the panini press with cheese and onions or any other fillings you want. Try and keep the quesadilla thing going—remember the black bean burgers have corn, peppers, and beans already in them. Once your quesadilla is done, cut it into fourths and cut your burger in half. Add some salsa on top of your burger and use your quesadilla quarters as your buns. A beef burger can easily be substituted for the black bean burger.



Menu Item: Marble Rye (if they are making Reubens, ask for two slices, or look for it in the bread section)


  • Marble Rye
  • Peppers
  • White Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Cheese of Choice
  • Garlic Powder
  • Pepper
  • Salt

Recipe:  Grab your veggies of choice (you can substitute and add to the ones above). Throw them in the wok with a bit of oil (olive oil from the salad bar is a healthy substitute to the canola at the wok). Cook your veggies and sprinkle some seasoning on top. I go for a bit of pepper, salt, and garlic. Then, put a slice of rye and your choice of cheese in the panini press. Pull the press down so it rests right above the cheese; this will melt the cheese very fast and all you have to do is bend down and watch it melt. When the cheese is melted, put the veggies on top with the other slice of bread.  Now press in the panini and voila. Add your sauce of choice (like thousand island) & veggie/black bean burger/deli meat if you want some more protein.

7206018248_06d9c21b18_z (2)

(#4) GREEK SALAD (whenever you want!)

Menu Item: Just stuff in the daily salad bar (lettuce from Cobb Salad Station is best).  


  • Lettuce (Tip: Pick out romaine from salad mix and toss with some spinach)
  • Red Onions
  • Olives
  • Cherry tomatoes or tomatoes in sandwich section
  • Cucumbers
  • Feta Cheese
  • Green Peppers
  • Olive Oil
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Lemon Juice (Tip: The lemons are at the drink station with the mugs and refrigerator, just grab a few slices and squeeze out some juice)

Recipe: Toss lettuce, red onions, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, and feta cheese together. In a cup mix one part olive oil, one part red wine vinegar (from the salad bar dressings on the table), two pinches of garlic pepper, a dash of pepper, and juice from two lemon slices. Adjust to your taste. Then pour your newly-made dressing on the salad and enjoy.



Menu: Avocado (during salad days at lunch or taco night)


  • Bagel of choice (Tip: Bagel bar bagels are best!)
  • Cream Cheese
  • Tomato slice
  • Avocado

Recipe: Toast your bagel of choice and top with cream cheese, tomato, and avocado.  Now you don’t have to go allll the way to the Ville or use your points to enjoy what is *objectively* the best bagel sandwich.

Eating at Sharples isn’t all that bad. And trying these new recipes make it a lot more fun to decide what to eat. Just don’t give up on the menus! There’s no need to settle for the same option every time. Have fun, get creative, and most importantly, save your Ville points.

**all photos courtesy of Creative Commons (Flickr)**

Leave a Reply