Bed spreads, wall decorations, clothes, school supplies—these are the items that incoming college freshmen think about as the date to move into their dorms quickly approaches. The main concerns have to do with what their rooms with look like, how they can personalize them and how they can possibly manage to fit all of their things into one tiny room.
While all of these worries are completely valid and important, they tend to overshadow the most practical packing essential: food!
It is easy to forget about packing food for your dorm for many reasons. For one thing, many high school kids are not used to storing food in their rooms. They kept food in their kitchens at home, and never had to worry about not having food available to them whenever it was needed. It is also hard to forget about packing this item because since many incoming freshmen sign up for meal plans, they just assume that all of their food needs will be met; however, as a college senior, I can use my personal experience to tell you that this is not entirely true.
Meal plans and dining halls are great for when you are running around campus from class to class; they are convenient and, for the most part, relatively satisfying. The downside is that they have limited hours, meaning that they will not be available at all times, and they typically have policies that limit how many times a day you can use the meal plan.
With these restrictions in mind, college freshmen should start thinking about what foods to store in their room during the year in order to combat those late night cravings.
1. Rice Cakes
I know this might sound like a strange go-to food, but there are so many reasons why students should have these in their dorms. Firstly, they are only fifty calories per serving, allowing students to have a delicious treat with zero guilt or fear of the freshman fifteen.
They are also super easy to take on the go, and they come in many different flavors to ensuring that any craving you have is met.
Finally, they are very affordable on a full-time student’s budget. The minimal price you pay is definitely worth the taste and shelf-life of this food.
2. Peanut Butter/Nutella
These items actually go perfectly with the rice cakes listed above. Not only can you enjoy these foods on their own, but they can turn something like a rice cake into a full meal by spreading it on top.
You can get creative with this food item and make any dish you want. Having something so versatile in you room will allow you to get creative with your own personal dorm specialties.
Also, as a bonus, you can satisfy your dessert needs by mixing a spoonful of peanut butter with a spoonful of Nutella to make your own homemade Reese’s!
Let’s be honest—there is no snack that is easier to prepare than popcorn. All you have to do is throw it in the microwave and wait for deliciousness.
Popcorn is a relatively healthy option that is surprisingly filling, allowing you to completely get rid of your midday or late night hunger.
Stocking up on popcorn for your room will allow you to be sure that you won’t ever go hungry, and it also provides the perfect opportunity for a social gathering.
Promising your hall mates with a popcorn and movie night will make everyone love you and you will surely make some great new friends.
4. Microwave Soups
If you’re not in the mood to make the trek all the way to the nearest dining hall for dinner, then it’s nice to have the option to have dinner in your dorm, without having to break the bank on food deliveries.
Soup is perfect for your dorm because it takes a long time to expire and it is so quick and easy to prepare. Most dorms have a microwave in a common room, but some allow you to keep one in your room, making it even easier to make dinner for yourself.
Choose your favorite flavors and keep at least five in your dorm at all times just to give yourself some additional dining options for a change of pace.
5. Protein Bars
A classic college student snack, protein bars are so easy to slip into your backpack on busy days. They hold you over in between meals and I personally like to eat them as a quick breakfast on my walk to class.
Protein bars are also great to keep in your dorm because of the variety available at almost every grocery store. You can switch up the brands or flavors from time to time so that you can have some changes in your daily eating habits.
If you’re looking for some recommendations, I like to keep Kind Bars and Luna Bars on hand at all times, but there are so many different brands and you will easily find a new favorite.
6. Individual Chip Bags
Following the same lines as protein bars, chips have seemingly endless variations that are perfect for any situation. Pick your favorite and make sure to load your dorm room up with them.
I suggest going with the individual chip bags because they are easier to store and you can buy variety packs that have several different flavors inside. They are also much easier to share, and they ensure that you don’t absentmindedly eat an entire family sized bag of chips!
7. Water Bottles
Whether it be plastic water bottles or reusable ones, it is so important to have water in your dorm. If there’s a water fountain in your dorm, I would recommend purchasing a few reusable bottles, because storing the cases of plastic ones can be a nightmare with your already limited space.
Staying hydrated is so important, and it is essential to be able to have water no matter where you are or what you are doing.