Published: Sept. 13, 2023

HummusCollege life is busy and requires energy to stay focused and on top of everything. Having access to convenient and nutritious food is vital. While living in the residence halls means you have a campus meal plan, the meal plans include 15 or 19 meals each week, which can leave gaps in your daily food needs. You can supplement your on-campus dining with snacks or easy-to-prepare meals in your residence hall. 

Each residence hall room includes a refrigerator and microwave. Here are tips to make eating easier! 

Food storage 

While the residence halls have refrigerators, they are smaller. Talk with roommates about how to split the refrigerator space before purchasing larger items. Consider how you can save space and reduce waste by agreeing to share certain food staples, like milk. 

Consider purchasing food storage containers like microwave-safe, reusable plastic or glass containers. Think about the best ways to store non-perishable foods in the limited space available. Storage boxes with lids or plastic drawers that fit under the bed or in the closet can work well for food storage. Remember to seal food containers to prevent insect infestations and to help food last longer. 

Keep ingredients and snacks on hand 

Everyone has food preferences and dietary needs, but these items work well for easy storage. 

  • Individual packages of instant plain oats. 
  • Canned fruit in 100% fruit juice or fruit that does not require refrigeration, like bananas, apples and oranges. 
  • Dried fruits, like raisins, cranberries, apricots, mangos and dates. 
  • Nuts or seeds, like almonds, cashews, pecans, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds or nut or seed butters. Be considerate of allergies your roommates may have. 
  • Canned or pouched seafood or meat, like tuna, salmon or chicken. 
  • Individual containers of yogurt. 
  • Cheese sticks. 
  • Snacks like nut or oat-based bars, trail mix, pita chips, whole grain crackers, microwave popcorn, pretzels or other shelf-stable items. 
  • Dips, including hummus, guacamole and tzatziki. 
  • Shelf-stable boxed milk, like cow, oat or soy. 

Easy-to-make meals and snacks 

When you think of meals to eat in your room, ramen noodles or frozen dinners may come to mind. While these are often easy meals for college students, there are many other delicious and nutritious options. 

When preparing a meal in the residence hall, you are limited to foods that don’t require cooking or can be heated in a microwave. Some residence halls have shared kitchen spaces with ovens and stovetops to allow you to expand your meal ideas. Check at your residence hall community center front desk to borrow kitchen utensils. You can be creative and try different things to see what works and what you enjoy eating.  

When preparing simple recipes like the ones below, you can often estimate the amount of ingredients. For example, a half cup is about the size of one handful and a tablespoon is about the size of a golf ball.