The Only Dorm Grocery List You’ll Ever Need

Even if you have an unlimited meal plan (and if you do, we're totally jealous!), it’s still smart to keep some staple food items in your dorm. You never know when you’ll be running late for class and need a quick breakfast or when you’ll be up late finishing a paper and craving something sweet. Keeping your mini-fridge stocked means that you'll never have to worry about rushing to the dining hall to grab a meal if you don't have the time between activities.

To ensure that your dorm is always stocked with a wide variety of versatile food for any time of day, here’s the ultimate dorm grocery list, complete with a few tried-and-true college favorites as well as a few things you may not have thought of! Be sure to print out the full itemized list at the bottom before your next trip to the grocery store. 

Breakfast

We hate to break it to you, but at some point you will inevitably wake up late for your 8 a.m. class and won’t have time to grab something from the dining hall. And there may be a Saturday morning after a night out when you can’t bring yourself to get out of bed before your dining hall's breakfast hours end. Whatever the reason, it’s always a good idea to keep some easy breakfast items on hand.

Instant oatmeal is a great to have because it’s healthy and ready in less than a minute! Another option is cereal; just add some milk. Other grab-and-go breakfast items include fruit (apples, bananas and oranges don’t need to be refrigerated), yogurt (we love Greek yogurt because it’s full of protein) and granola/protein bars. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so don’t skip it!

Lunch

With a college class schedule, you’re likely to have random breaks throughout the day, which means you're bound to end up in your dorm around lunchtime once in a while. The good thing about most lunch items is that they can also double as dinners, which is great news for a college budget.

Keep it classic with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or if you want to get fancy, buy some sliced turkey and whip up a deli-style lunch. Shredded cheddar cheese between two tortillas makes an easy microwavable quesadilla, perfect with a side of chips and salsa!

Dinner

For the nights you get back late from class or just need a break from the dining hall, you'll be happy you have quick dinners around in your dorm so you can get straight to work on finishing the last season of your new favorite Netflix show—er, we meant finishing that term paper. 

Easy Mac is a college staple, and don’t forget about about that tried-and-true college staple, Ramen noodles! Bagel Bites and frozen pizza are both quick to make, and soup is great on a cold winter night. Want something a little more sophisticated (and better for you)? Buy pre-cooked chicken strips, microwave some frozen vegetables and pair with instant brown rice. It’s healthy and convenient; you can’t beat that!

Snacks

Ask any collegiette: snacks are extremely important. Whether you’re hanging out for movie night in your dorm with friends or you just need something salty after you come back at midnight, quality snacks are a must.

Some of the obvious choices are pretzels, chips and Goldfish crackers. You can either buy them in big bags (if you buy them in bulk, they’re cheaper!) or as individual servings (so you can throw one in your bag on your way out the door). Microwave popcorn is always a favorite, or you can change it up with some trail mix. For a healthier snack, grab a cheese stick along with some carrots and hummus! And of course, you can’t forget some good old Ben & Jerry’s to treat yourself after a long day.

Extras

Now that you have all the basics, step up your dorm room grocery game with some extras you may not have thought of! If you’re a coffee drinker, invest in a Keurig Brewing System. It’s ideal when you only want to make one cup of coffee for yourself in the morning. Not a fan of coffee? Get some tea bags and instant hot chocolate instead! If you like honey or sugar in your hot beverages, make sure to stock up on that too.

Consider buying a Brita Water Pitcher, which gives you constant access filtered water to put in a reusable water bottle. It's cheaper than buying plastic water bottles every week! Beyond that, remember to get plastic baggies or Tupperware containers (for snacks and meals on the go), as well as plastic utensils, paper plates, cups and napkins.

There you have it! The only dorm grocery list you’ll ever need. Print out the full list below to make sure you remember everything the next time you stock up!

Full grocery list:

Produce

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Carrots

Dairy

  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Cheese sticks
  • Shredded cheese

Protein

  • Sliced turkey/deli meat
  • Pre-cooked chicken strips

Frozen Items

  • Bagel Bites or frozen pizza
  • Frozen veggies (microwavable)
  • Ice cream

Easy Meals

  • Instant oatmeal
  • Cereal
  • Granola/protein bars
  • Bread
  • Tortillas
  • Instant rice (white or brown)
  • Easy Mac
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Soup
  • Peanut butter & jelly

Snacks

  • Microwave popcorn
  • Dried fruit
  • Trail mix
  • Pretzels
  • Chips
  • Gold Fish
  • Hummus
  • Crackers
  • Salsa
  • Cookies

Beverages/Beverage Extras

  • Juice
  • Keurig Brewing System & K-cups
  • Brita Water Pitcher (with filters)
  • Tea
  • Hot chocolate
  • Honey
  • Sugar packets

Paper Goods/Food Storage

  • Plastic baggies/plastic Tupperware containers
  • Plastic utensils
  • Paper plates
  • Plastic cups
  • To-go coffee cups (or a reusable mug/thermos)
  • Napkins

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About The Author

Kasia (pronounced "Kasha") recently graduated from Villanova University where she studied Communication. She's a self-proclaimed Pinterest enthusiast, aspiring writer, avid reader, and constant smiler. Besides writing for HC, you can find her practicing yoga or curling up with a book at a coffee shop. She plans to pursue a career in public relations or journalism, where she can live in a city and decorate her own apartment. Follow her on Twitter or check out her blog!