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Apples Mixed Kristine Mahan
Apples Mixed Kristine Mahan
Kristine Mahan / Spoon

20 Dorm Food Essentials for 2020

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Simmons chapter.

Let’s be honest—eating well in college is pretty tricky. Especially with a dining hall that rotates the same 8 meals, and only a microwave to cook with. Add a limited budget and you’re probably skipping breakfast, grabbing 3 muffins for lunch, and reluctantly eating cafeteria cheese pizza for dinner (not speaking from experience, of course). Here are some meals that are quick easy, and usually pretty cheap to get you through this semester (plus a full shopping list at the end).


Give hand fruit like apples, bananas, and oranges a try! They’re easy to take along and eat while running to your 9am, and are healthy too. If you’ve got a bit more time in the morning, oatmeal or yogurt is another great option. You can easily spice it up with different nut butters or berries!

Milk (or non-dairy options) and cereal or granola is a classic, and takes literal seconds to whip up. The granola is great on top of the yogurt too! If you have the time to meal prep, some hard boiled eggs are great to have around as a snack and a source of protein!

Lunch and Dinner

Not up for your go-to sandwich or pizza from the dining hall? Try making a quesadilla in your microwave with shredded cheese and tortillas! With that same cheese, you could also make some pasta—add some milk and even some canned sauce, and you’re golden! Another simple staple is canned soup—whether it’s chicken noodle, minestrone, tomato bisque, or a throwback like spaghettios, the choice is yours! 

Frozen veggies are also great to have on hand, like broccoli, peas, or cauliflower to add to whatever dish you’d like! The same thing goes for rice (make sure to buy the microwaveable packets) which are an awesome base to add veggies and soy sauce to. Potatoes or sweet potatoes are also staples, since you can literally just toss them into the microwave. 


Even though you might not have a full kitchen, that doesn’t mean you should leave out the essentials. Salt and pepper are a must, no matter what you’re cooking, and soy sauce or teriyaki sauce can make a bowl of plain rice and veggies go a long way! Couldn’t leave these out! Everyone needs a go-to snack while laying in bed, watching Netflix, and procrastinating homework (again, I’m not speaking from experience, obviously). Your favorite kind of crackers, chips, or pretzels are great for nights in, just like microwaveable popcorn or a sweet snack like Oreos or ice cream.

Grocery List


  • Yogurt

  • Milk (or non-dairy alternative)

  • Eggs

  • Shredded cheese


  • Hand fruit (apples, oranges, bananas)

  • Potatoes or sweet potatoes


  • Oatmeal

  • Nut butter

  • Cereal or granola

  • Tortillas

  • Pasta

  • Canned sauce

  • Canned soup

  • Rice

  • Salt and pepper

  • Soy sauce or teriyaki sauce

  • Chips, crackers, or pretzels

  • Microwaveable popcorn

  • Oreos or another sweet snack


  • Veggies of your choice (like broccoli, peas, cauliflower)

  • Ice cream, duh


Junior at Simmons University studying Communications, Graphic Design, and Cinema Studies // HC Video Director // Fandom geek and cooking enthusiast
Julia Hansen is a senior at Simmons studying PR/Marketing Communications and English with minors in cinema, media arts, and graphic design. When not writing for Her Campus, she can be found reading every book she can find, retweeting photos of dogs and binge-watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix. Find her on IG @juliarosehansen