Eat Right in Your Dorm Room


When I think about how to eat right, your way, every day, I think about all the different things that influence how people eat and how they can eat.

When you live in a college dorm room with no stove, you can’t cook big complicated meals. Your options are eating in a campus dining hall, eating at a restaurant, eating at a friend or family member’s place, or whipping up something simple. But in order to be able to whip up something simple, you need to have some kitchen tools and staple foods on hand.

Electric Kettle

If you’re getting bored with your food options this semester, here’s a few essentials to pick up for your dorm room kitchen.

Essential dorm appliances

  • Mini-fridge
  • Microwave 
  • Toaster oven – for toasting sandwiches, open-faced bagels. You can also bake small batches of cookies
  • Electric kettle – boil water for coffee, tea, oatmeal
  • French press – for coffee, loose-leaf tea. Takes up less space than a traditional coffee maker

Check your college dorm rules to find out what appliances are allowed.

Essential dorm kitchen tools

  • Plates, bowls, cups – all microwave safe
  • Forks, spoons, knives – 2 sets
  • Sharp knives – one large, one small
  • Cutting board
  • Large microwaveable mixing bowl with lid
  • Can opener – think beans, tuna, soup
  • Bottle opener
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Resealable sandwich bags – for taking food with you, storing pre-portioned servings
  • Dish soap, scrubber, drying towel – yes, you will need to do dishes

Dorm pantry staples

  • Oatmeal – old-fashioned oats are easy to cook in the microwave and taste great with some fresh or dried fruit and nuts
  • Cereal – for when you want a quick and simple breakfast
  • Granola bars
  • Dried fruit – for a snack or to add to salad or cereal
  • Nuts and seeds – mix with dried fruit and cereal for a snack
  • Bread, bagels, wraps – sandwiches make a perfect grab and go meal
  • Nut butter – eat with fruit or on a sandwich
  • Canned tuna – use on a sandwich or add to salad
  • Canned soup
  • Canned beans – great on their own or added to salad
  • Coffee, tea – unless you can live without it!

Refrigerated dorm staples

  • Milk – unless you use a lot, get it in small containers
  • Yogurt – plain or flavored to mix with cereal or eat on it’s own
  • Fresh fruit – go with fruits that will last a little longer like apples, oranges, grapefruit, or grapes.
  • Eggs – cook in the microwave
  • Cheese – for snacks or sandwiches
  • Hummus – for sandwiches or as a veggie dip
  • Pre-washed and cut veggies – think baby carrots, celery, broccoli, snow peas
  • Salad greens – just add some pre-cut veggies, seeds, dried fruit, and salad dressing
  • Avocado – great with eggs, salsa, and toast
  • Sandwich condiments – for me, this just means mustard
  • Salad dressing
  • Salsa – a great companion to eggs
Is there anything else you would add to this list?
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