8 Dorm Foods You’ll Be Glad You Packed

When you’re not feeling the mystery meat at the dining hall, or you’re up late studying and want a snack to recharge, it can be hard to know what to stock your room with. With limited shelf and fridge space and no kitchen to cook food in, it can often feel like the dining hall is your only option. Filling your dorm room with sensible snacks is a great solution if you’re looking for healthier options, your schedule isn’t matched to the dining hall’s or you simply want to satisfy hunger in between meals.

HC is here with dorm foods for everyone from the calorie-conscious to the chocolate cravers. Here are the foods that every collegiette needs in her dorm room!

1. Popcorn


Movie nights with your roomies just wouldn’t be right without a few bags of popcorn. While the jumbo size with extra butter you get at the movie theater is delicious, in your dorm room you can opt for a healthier route. Try Orville Redenbacher’s SmartPop! microwavable popcorn, which is just 100 calories per six cups. If you have a sweet tooth, go for the brand’s kettle corn flavor.  

2. Oatmeal


We’ve all grown up hearing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but in a dorm with no kitchen, it can feel normal to skip it all together. Oatmeal is the perfect way to get in a quick and healthy breakfast before you head to your first class—and if you buy an instant pack like those from Quaker, making breakfast only takes about a minute in the microwave!

“I like to have oatmeal for breakfast because it’s so easy to make and I always feel full through the morning after I eat it,” says Maria, a sophomore at the University of Delaware. “Plus, it’s low calorie and full of fiber, so I never feel guilty about what I’m putting in my body.”

For more flavor, try adding fruit, nuts, honey, cinnamon or brown sugar.

3. Soup


When you have limited storage space and not much room in your mini-fridge for anything more than a few cheese sticks, it can be hard to stock up on sensible food. Canned, microwavable soup is great because you can keep it on your shelf until you’re ready to eat it, and most cans have between 1-2 servings, so it’s unlikely you’ll need to refrigerate a ton of leftovers afterwards.

Because soups can be high in sodium or calories, consider healthier alternatives. Progresso offers lighter versions of higher-calorie classics so that you can enjoy the flavors you love without worrying about the nutrition. You can go for classics such as chicken noodle or vegetable or mix it up with chicken corn chowder or chicken and dumpling.

Amy’s also offers low-cal canned soup options that are also light in sodium. They offer many flavors, such as favorites like chicken noodle, split pea and tomato.

If you’re not feeling well enough to muster up the energy to trek to the dining hall, these options are not only convenient, but healthy as well!

4. Protein bars


For a bite in your room or an on-the-go snack, protein bars are a healthy way to satisfy your hunger. They’re easy to store and won’t go bad quickly. Plus, you can satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way by getting flavors like chocolate peanut butter, cookies and cream and more!  Not sure which brands to buy? Look for bars that are high in fiber and protein so that you’ll feel fuller for longer, but make sure that you avoid ones with high sugar contents.

LUNA bars, like their Nutz Over Chocolate flavor, are relatively low in calories and are high in protein. Unlike some other protein bars, they are low in sugar, which means that you can enjoy the delicious taste without feeling like you’re cheating!

Pure Bars are made of organic products and are high in protein. You can feel good about eating these delicious bars at any time! Try the chocolate brownie flavor for a guiltless dessert.

5. Fruit


For collegiettes with a sweet tooth who want to avoid the high fat content of many candies and chocolates, fruit can be a great alternative.

However, if you don’t have a fridge, having fruit can be tough to keep for more than a few days. Try apples, oranges and grapefruits, since you don’t have to eat them as quickly.

“I always have a bag of apples on my desk,” says Jamie, a senior at Tulane University. “I’ll eat one while I study or grab one on the go in between classes.”

6. Candy


We all know your doctor probably isn’t suggesting you eat an enormous chocolate bar every night, but sometimes a satisfied sweet tooth can be the cure for one of those dreaded all-nighters. When you’re in need of a sweet treat, try a little bit of dark chocolate or chocolate-covered raisins.

“I always get sweet cravings, especially late at night when I’m studying,” says Hannah, a sophomore at the University of Delaware. “Instead of binge eating a ton of candy or chocolate, I keep a few Jolly Ranchers nearby so that I can satisfy my sweet tooth without loading up on the calories.”

The occasional treat can be a great pick-me-up. Plus, indulging in a sweet treat doesn’t have to mean eating the whole cake at the party. Instead of a full-size chocolate bar, try mini versions occasionally!

7. Veggies


Chips and dip can be a staple snack in college, but you can ditch the calories and fat in regular potato chips by replacing them with vegetables. Keeping mini veggies such as carrots and celery in your fridge can serve as a great, healthy way to still indulge in your favorite dip without the guilt of the saturated fat that often comes with chips.

Want to be even healthier? Instead of regular dips, try hummus. You’ll be left feeling fuller, and you’ll add some nutritional value to this snack.

8. Frozen meals


No oven? No problem! If you’re in a hurry or not loving what the dining hall has to offer, a frozen meal is a great option to keep in your dorm.

“I always keep a few frozen meals in my mini-freezer for days when I need to study and don’t have time for the dining hall,” says Christina, a junior at the University of Maryland.

While not every frozen meal option is healthy, there are some options that are low in calories, fat and sodium.  

Weight Watchers Smart Ones has frozen meals that definitely don’t cut down on the flavor. Try their whole-grain Angel Hair Marinara with spinach and zucchini. At only 220 calories, this meal is low in fat and high in protein and fiber, meaning you’ll feel fuller for longer after you eat it.

For those who want to keep their food organic, Amy’s is a great option for frozen meals.  Try their Light & Lean Quinoa & Black Beans With Butternut Squash and Chard. At 240 calories, it has 10 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber. For those with dietary restrictions, it’s also gluten free.


Keeping your dorm stocked with healthy food will keep you satisfied during your study sessions and hangouts. Try these quick options that are delicious and easy to prepare in your dorm!