The ins and outs of dorm living: Managing meals when living away from mom and dad

Bailey Rankin, ‘Doah Staff Writer
August 20, 2013

'Doah photo by Liz Levey

‘Doah photo by Liz Levey

As a college student, it’s often hard to maintain healthy eating habits. It can be very tempting to go back to your room and eat all the ramen noodles and microwavable mac and cheese you want. Ramen and mac and cheese are undeniably essential dorm room foods, you just have to eat them in moderation.

Everyone has heard of the dreaded “freshman 15” and don’t want it to happen to them. Healthy options are available on and off campus. If eating healthy isn’t a concern, then there are also a wide variety of things that you can stock up on in your room.

Pinterest is a very handy tool to use in searching for quick, easy recipes. However, with just a microwave, it can be very difficult to make things that you enjoy and are filling.

When eating on campus, one of the healthier options on campus is Sandella’s. They have many different selections including wraps, salads and flatbread sandwiches. Sandella’s is usually just one meal swipe. Also, the dining hall has made changes in recent years to bring more healthy choices to students. They have a salad bar, sandwich making station, and even vegetarian options.

If these don’t strike your fancy, there is a Wal-Mart and multiple grocery stores within conveniently located within minutes of campus. There you can splurge and get whatever you like. Fresh produce is nice to have in your room as a snack. Apples and bananas with some peanut butter on the side or in a sandwich work great. If you have a mini-fridge, you can keep some bread and lunch meats in your room along. You can also get small dorm-friendly condiment containers.

If you’re looking to save a little money and be healthy Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones make frozen dinners that you can keep stored in your freezer. When purchased in bulk you can get a good many for just a few dollars. There are many opportunities to save money on healthy food, so be sure keep an eye out.

For simpler, sometimes less healthy options there is always the cheap and delicious ramen. It only takes a couple minutes in the microwave before it’s ready. To add a little more flavor try sprinkling some Old Bay seasoning on top. Chef Boyardee also has mini packages that you can warm up in the microwave, or if you have microwave safe bowls you can buy the regular sized cans. Checking some of your favorite food labels for microwave instructions may surprise you because of what you can make in a dorm room. Kraft or Velveeta mac and cheese cups, depending on your preference of cheese products, are another option. Hamburger Helper also makes little microwavable cups, like cheeseburger macaroni. If these things start to bore you or you’re looking for something new you can always Google different ideas for Ramen, there are a lot.

Whether you want to eat healthy or not there are many options out there for you. Just keep an open mind and learn to try new things along the way. It’s all part of the experience!

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