Between studying, classes, and extracurriculars, deciding what to eat each day may seem like another chore on your to-do list. Even with dining hall food readily available, you might find that you don’t have the time to go there—or you might simply want something different. Cooking is an incredibly useful skill for anyone, especially those living in the dorms. Here, we’ll provide some helpful tips and tricks for cooking your meals in the dorms so that you don’t have to make those long treks across campus.
Cut Corners With Versatile Appliances
One of the best ways to streamline your dorm-room meal prep is to invest in versatile appliances that minimize both space and effort. For instance, a Keurig coffee maker isn’t just for brewing your morning cup of joe. Believe it or not, you can use it to make several different foods and drinks. Heat up water for oatmeal or ramen noodles, or make yourself a quick cup of soup. With the press of a button, you have the hot water you need to craft anything you want.
Organize and Maximize Your Space
It’s no secret that dorm rooms are pretty cramped. But with some creativity, you can maximize your space and make cooking a breeze. Store your dried food items like pasta and beans in mason jars, which are both versatile and stackable, to free up shelf space. Also, consider storing spices in magnetic containers that attach conveniently to the sides of your mini-fridge or any other metal surface, granting you easy access to them.
Master the Art of Microwave Cooking
Give your microwave the credit it deserves! This underrated appliance can be your best friend in the dorm when it comes to quick and easy meal prep. You can cook exciting meals like omelets, rice, and steamed vegetables in a microwave—just remember to use microwave-safe cookware. Learning how to cook various dishes in the microwave without sacrificing taste and texture will undoubtedly elevate your diet.
Keep Meal Prep Simple and Healthy
Another effective tip for cooking your meals in the dorms is to keep recipes simple and as healthy as possible. Being a full-time student leaves limited time (and energy) for elaborate meal planning. Stick to simple, healthy recipes that require minimal ingredients and prep time. Use fresh produce or lean proteins. Not only does this ensure you enjoy a tasty meal, but it also promotes healthier eating habits amid late-night study sessions and tempting library vending machines.
Get Creative With Leftovers
Finally, learn how to reinvent your leftovers. Make use of last night’s spaghetti by combining it with cheese and veggies to create a frittata. You could also turn rice and leftover veggies into a quick and delicious stir-fry. By creatively repurposing leftovers, you’ll reduce food waste and have a diverse selection of delicious meals with minimal effort.
You don’t have to limit your eating habits to only what the college serves in the dining hall. In fact, you can make your culinary experience all your own by preparing your favorites in the comfort of your dorm. Just be sure to follow these tips to make the most of your time.