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Dorm Cuisine: When All You’ve Got is a Mini Fridge and a Microwave

So, I don’t have a meal plan. I also don’t have a kitchen.

Living on campus in a dorm is definitely an experience. It’s a lot of fun, and it really feels like you’re in college. But when it comes to feeding yourself… Making your own food and actually remembering to do so is definitely a challenge, but it’s also really fun! You just have to get creative.

Here are 7 tips and tricks for yummy, nutritious meals without ever leaving your dorm.


  1. Invest in a microwave steamer.

    Yo, I love rice and pasta. My favorite thing in my dorm is my microwave rice and pasta cooker. It doesn’t take terribly long to cook your food, about 10 minutes, and it stores very well. You can pretty much make a gourmet meal right in your microwave.

  2. Be sure your mini fridge comes with a decent freezer section.

    You can store fruit to make smoothies, frozen meals (which, eh, but they’ll do in a pinch), and keep things fresh. It was an adjustment for me to going from my whole family (there’s five of us) to just me going through groceries. Things will go bad if you aren’t careful. But with a larger freezer, you can keep things fresher and prolong shelf life.

  3. Get yourself a blender.

    Smoothies! Smoothies are nutritious and a good substitute for other snacks. You can make so many different smoothies, and it will feel like you’re indulging, but really you’re just treating yourself to health.

  4. Make popsicles.

    Popsicles are so fun. Freeze fruit juices for a quick treat (especially when it’s hot out, I mean come on). Or, if you’re feeling fancy, slice up some fruits like bananas, strawberries and kiwis, put them in the popsicle mold, then pour the juice of your choice over them! I like to use Bai Molokai Coconut, because it’s delicious and also clear, so you can see the pretty fruits!

  5. Two words: Coconut. Oil.

    OK, honestly I could write a dissertation on coconut oil and everything you can use it for and all the benefits and why I love it. But I’ll keep it short. It’s a healthy fat, and I use it as a butter or spread on bread with a little salt for flavor. It has a mild taste, so don’t worry if you aren’t crazy about coconut. I also use it as a sub for butter in my pastas and rice, and season as desired. Pro tip! If you melt Nutella or chocolate with coconut oil and pour it over ice cream, it will harden into a delicious shell! Or, left warm, it is a great dip for fruit or pretzels.

  6. Stock up on fresh produce.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It’s hard to eat fresh and healthy when pizza is a thing. Trust me, I know. I’ve started making wraps with turkey or chicken, cheese, lettuce and bell peppers. It’s very satisfying and filling, and it still feels fresh and healthy. (Pro tip: opt for a head of lettuce and peel off pieces as you go. Already-chopped or bagged lettuce is more expensive and goes bad quicker.)

  7. Have a go-to food.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For me, my go-to is granola and breakfast-bar-type things. Woke up late and I have to walk/run to class? Breakfast bar. Mid-day snack? Granola bar. Super hungry at 1 a.m.? GRANOLA! It’s something I always have on hand that I know will satisfy my hunger and something I always like.


Well, folks, good luck out there. Dorm life can be brutal on the food front, but if you can use these tips to cook great food in a dorm, just imagine the kind of chef you’ll be when you actually have a kitchen.


Photo credit: cover, 1, 2, 3

Mady is a advertising-public relations/psychology major at the University of Central Florida. She spends her time at the Catholic Campus Ministry at UCF, listening to music, and writing. Mady is from Melbourne, Florida, and enjoys the beach, soccer, and watercolor painting. She is a new writer for Her Campus, as well as a member of the student chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association, Quotes. She has a passion for writing, mental health, as well as for art and music, and she is seeking a job in which she can combine all of these.
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