As a junior, this is my third year living in a dorm room on campus, and it’s also my third year with no meal plan. One question I get asked most frequently if I mention I don’t have a meal plan is what exactly I eat. That’s a great question because dorm cooking is a bit limiting.
I cook once or twice per week in the community kitchen, but other than that, I’ve figured out quite a few simple dorm room meals that I don’t even have to leave my room to make- no kitchen required! Here are a few of my favorite simple dorm room meals:
Peanut butter/almond butter and jelly or peanut butter/almond butter and banana are great dorm room options since those ingredients stay good for a long time.
I also love turkey sandwiches and usually do a combination of Boar’s Head maple honey turkey, tomatoes, and homemade honey mustard. I make my own honey mustard by mixing together 2 parts mustard and 1 part honey, and I actually mix it together right on the bread so I don’t have to wash any additional dishes. 👌🏼
Salads are one of my favorite things I’ve been making in my dorm this year. I’m currently on a Greek salad kick, so I’ve been keeping chickpeas, lettuce, tomato, and peppers on hand, as well as some type of Greek or Mediterranean-style salad dressing. I typically make 2-3 salads at once, and I’ll eat them within 3 days or so, so they still taste fresh.
I love using glass Pyrex containers with lids to pack my lunches so I can pack and reheat meals safely in the same container. I have this 10-piece set which is pricier than plastic, but I honestly view them as an investment because they last forever and I use them for everything from microwaving my morning oatmeal to packing my re-heatable lunches and snacks for the day.
This childhood favorite is easy to make in a dorm room if you have a toaster. Just pop the bread in the toaster and then top it with thin slices of cheddar cheese and microwave for 10-15 seconds, or as little time as needed so the cheese melts.
If I have more time and have the option of going to the dorm kitchen, I’d top the untoasted bread with cheese and stick it in the oven at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes or so.
Veggies + protein + healthy starch in a bowl
I always keep mixed greens and a few other veggies in my fridge to whip up salads and to make a bigger, more balanced meal, I’ll add a healthy starch and protein. For example, I paired this salad with a couple of deli turkey roll-ups and a small Japanese sweet potato.
I baked a few potatoes earlier in the week and reheated one this time, but to stick with the no-stove/oven dorm room meals theme, you can microwave one when you want it.
I’ve found that I feel much more satisfied and less tempted to snack too much later if my meals include more than one part. So, oftentimes, if I make something like a frozen burrito, I’ll make a quick salad to go along with it. I’ll use pre-washed mixed greens and whatever veggies are in my mini fridge. I also keep a container of feta in my freezer because I think it makes every salad betta.
A hearty bowl of oats
Oatmeal is my favorite dorm room breakfast, and sometimes it even doubles as a dinner when I’m running low on fresh fruits and veggies and haven’t made it to the store yet. Adding peanut butter, almond butter, and/or a banana is an easy way to make oatmeal even filling enough for an easy dorm room dinner.
I buy organic quick oats that are super fast to make in the microwave, and then I add all of my own toppings and sweeteners like banana or a very light drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
Made with rotisserie chicken, chicken salad is an easy, really filling dorm room option. Since I’m not a mayo fan, I love this avocado and Greek yogurt chicken salad.
A Tex-Mex style quesadilla
A whole-grain tortilla with organic refried beans (canned), cheese, and guacamole (just avocado mashed with salt, garlic powder, and lime if I have it) has to be one of the easiest, most filling no-stove required dorm meals.
Just heat up the refried beans first, and then add them to a tortilla and top it with shredded cheese. Then, microwave the whole thing for 10 or so seconds, as little as possible to get the cheese to melt. Too long in the microwaves and nothing tastes as good, especially bread products.
A baked (or microwaved) sweet potato
Whenever possible, I prefer to bake my sweet potatoes, but these can definitely be microwaved for 2 1/2 – 4 minutes on high in a pinch. A big sweet potato topped with lots of cinnamon can do as a meal (or try topping it with almond butter!).
I’ve found a few canned soups I enjoy, like Amy’s lentil soup. I usually keep a can or two in my “pantry” for a fast, easy dinner option.
A green smoothie
I have an inexpensive blender in my dorm room, so I love making smoothies with almond milk, spinach, frozen mixed berries, frozen bananas, and collagen peptides for protein. A big smoothie can be filling enough to be a whole meal, or I may add something small on the side.
A frozen microwaveable entree
When my time is more limited, a frozen meal can save the day if I don’t already have food prepared, or if it’s near the end of the week and I went grocery shopping at the beginning of the week.
Hopefully, these easy dorm room meals help create some inspiration for you if you’re in a similar situation!