Dorm Room Food Made Healthy

by zesty on September 2, 2010 · 3 comments

Help The Students Event: Day 2

Below is a guest post by Janel over at Eat Well with Janel . She has a lot of experience in healthy eating as well as helping people ensure they make healthy decisions moving forward.

When you get to college, there are eating opportunities everywhere, from the buffet style dining halls to pizza parties, late night takeout, bar food, and alcohol. It seems like you’re set up for 4 years of food failure, right? Wrong. With some careful and cost effective planning, you can eat healthfully throughout your crazy college years. I remember my college days with wonky schedules and late nights. There were days I juuuust missed the dining hall lunch, or got out of class too late to meet my friends for dinner on campus.

So I had to resort to makeshift meals I’d make up in my dorm room. Now, I know eating in your 2’x2’ box of a dorm room doesn’t sound all that glam, but keeping a few key food items on hand will help you eat well in a pinch. Then you can save all of your stressing out over finals…or that cute boy in your art history class.

Assuming you have a mini-fridge in your room, there are many things you can keep cool. Here are some of my favorites that keep for a while in the fridge before going bad:

  • Hummus/bean spread
  • Baby carrots and other fresh cut veggies
  • Apples and other fresh whole fruit
  • Applesauce cups with no added sugar
  • Soy/almond/rice milk (some are shelf stable until you open them!)
  • yogurt

On your shelves and in drawers you can keep:

  • nuts and nut butter
  • whole grain cereal
  • old fashioned oats
  • whole wheat crackers, like Triscuits
  • single serve tuna packs in water
  • hearty low sodium soup, like minestrone or black bean
  • instant microwavable brown rice/whole grain packs


  • microwave popcorn
  • trail mix (make your own with cereal, dried fruit, and nuts)
  • dried fruit
  • bars (Larabars are my favorite!)

With these options, you want to put together a nutritious combo that contains fiber and protein to make a satisfying dorm-room dining experience. Be sure to add a serving of fruit or veggies to round out the meal.

Try tuna on whole wheat crackers with baby carrots on the side, or a yogurt parfait with apple slices and whole grain cereal sprinkled on top. Heat up a can of hearty soup with some whole grain crackers crumbled on top, or have breakfast for dinner with a bowl of cereal, soy milk, and fruit.

These meal ideas will pick you up in a pinch and will prevent you from ordering in pizza or turning to the vending machine down the hall.  And, many of these foods can be found in large convenience stores, so even if you don’t have a grocery store nearby or a car to get you there, you should be able to find some of these dorm room dining goodies.


Janel Ovrut is a Boston-based Registered Dietitian who enjoys helping others make healthy changes, one bite at a time. You can follow Janel’s blog, Eat Well with Janel here, become an Eat Well with Janel fan, and follow her food and nutrition tweets on Twitter.

Thanks Janel for a very informative post.  I am sure a lot of people can put this to great use including myself.  Stay tuned for another fun post for tomorrow.  Let me know if there are somethings you would like to see within this month.

Take care


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