College Food Hacks

Let’s talk about food! Although you will likely spend a lot of money on a meal plan, you’ll probably want to have some food in your dorm room. Sometimes eating every meal at the dining hall gets tedious and annoying (especially if the dining hall is a walk away). Most freshman leaving for college worry about gaining the “freshman 15”. It’s important to remember that an unlimited meal plan for the dining hall will make you forget about proportions! If you have the choice of choosing between pizza or grilled chicken for dinner, you’re probably going to choose the tastier option! We all know it’s hard to eat well in college when fast food seems to be calling your name at 3:00 a.m. But, don’t fret, there are plenty of easy ways to avoid the tasty temptations!

Make a point of ignoring all the unhealthy food in the dining hall when you first arrive on campus. With some effort, you’ll get in a routine of eating healthy. Obviously, you can choose to eat unhealthy food once in a while, but limiting your consumption of bad foods will help you feel better.

Before you move into your residence hall, it’s important to know what kitchen appliances are allowed in the dorm rooms at your institution. Are microwaves and mini-fridges permitted? Can you have a coffee maker and a blender? Knowing what appliances are allowed will help you prepare for the foods you should buy to keep in your room.

It’s imperative to buy a container that can be tightly sealed to keep your food stored in. The last thing you want is bugs finding their way into your food. Try and stock up on healthy snack options to keep in your room. Some mornings you’ll wake up late and not have time to run to the dining hall before class. Buy some healthy breakfast bars that you can grab on your way out the door. If you want to stock up on some fresh fruit or milk to put in your mini-fridge, make sure you take the time to clean it out before it goes bad and you’re room smells like rotten food.

Since it can be difficult to keep fresh produce in a dorm room, you should buy foods that have a long expiration date to keep food from becoming stale or expired. If you’re allowed to have a blender in your dorm room, you can use frozen for fresh fruit to make smoothies before class or as a snack after the gym. You can buy frozen fruits and vegetables in substitution for fresh produce so that they last longer. 

For those of us who need to keep our spending limited, there are great (and cheap!) foods that are well known by college students. Of course, Ramen Noodles will be added to the grocery list, along with Easy Mac n’ Cheese.

Everyone loves the roommate who stocks up on snack foods. Pretzels and Nature Valley Bars are great on-the-go treats for the library, class, or watching Netflix in bed, but stocking up on quick and easy snack foods might leave you feeling stuck and disappointed.

There are also are some ways you can get crafty by “cooking” in your dorm room. College students have learned to become innovative with their cooking techniques. 

From baking a cake in a mug or making scrambled eggs using the microwave, to frying bacon on an iron, college students have done it all. Without a kitchen, cooking becomes an experimental game.

Sometimes you’ll just need to order food in. You’re sick of eating at the dining hall and you don’t feel like making a mess. Of course, this can get very expensive. But, everyone needs to give into their cravings sometimes. When you’re hanging out with your friends and you haven’t had Chinese food in what seems like forever, you’ll go a little bit overboard and pig out.

Make sure this only happens once in a while because you might find yourself getting in a bad routine.

Since you’ll be living in a dorm, make sure to keep an eye out for free food around campus! You’d be surprised how often there’s an event happening with free food involved!

At the end of the day, you’ll never be truly satisfied with food on campus. You’ll get bored of all the food options and retreat to searching Pinterest all day for recipes you’ll want to cook when you’re home for break. After all, nothing is as good as a home cooked meal.