Meal prepping for college students living in dorms can be challenging, especially when sharing a kitchen with fellow students or having limited time between classes. This can lead to students skipping meals or making other choices like eating at dining halls, vending machines, getting take-out, or using a food delivery system. Many college students also like skipping meals to study, sleep, or save money. A full day of classes can also make it hard to cook dinner, with so many students grabbing something quick.
In this blog, we will show how to meal prep and easy ways to keep food from spoiling. These ideas can help college students relieve stress, save money, and have healthier, fulfilling meals every day.
One idea to help students with meal prep is to make a grocery list for the upcoming week. This can help students stay organized and help stay within a specific budget. After the student gets all their groceries, they can meal prep them all at once, making them easy to store and reheat.
Usually, making meals on Sundays for the upcoming week will help with spoilage. Buying reusable storage containers can also help with spoilage and help separate each food group individually.
Using resources like the MyPlate template can help students better understand a well-balanced meal by choosing vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, and healthy fats.
Nowadays, there are many web and social media places where students can get food, snack ideas, and inspiration for meal preparations. Below are a few websites for snack and food ideas and inspirations.
- The Best List of Healthy Dorm Snack Ideas for College Students
- 25 Best College Snacks to Keep in Your Mini Fridge
- 27 Healthy College Lunch Ideas
- Healthy College Meals (Budget-Friendly and Meal-Prep!)
Being in a dorm can be challenging to prep and prepare meals for a student. Most dorms usually do not provide the space for a functioning kitchen and the area to prep a lot of food at once. Most dorms can fit a mini fridge and a microwave to prepare meals or snacks. But so many other appliances and equipment are on the smaller side that can make your dorm feel like a small kitchen. Here are examples of devices you can buy for your dorm that you can store in small compartments or keep out on your desk: mini waffle maker, Nutribullet, panini press, Keurig mini coffee maker, plug-in kettle, Instant mini pot, a Brita, and a George Foreman grille. Make sure to check your dorm’s guidelines for electronic appliances and cooking equipment. The small appliances listed are only a few of the many miniature kitchen appliances you can fit in your dorm to make meals, snacks, and even meal prep if that is what you like to do. Items that can help you save space and store your food are reusable storage bags, plastic containers, plastic dinnerware sets, and metal baskets to keep plates and utensils. Another idea for saving space in your dorm for a tiny kitchen section is getting a desk hutch to store your small appliances and kitchen utensils on the planned site. The desk hutch for kitchen items will allow you to have space around your dorm, and you can reach any of your kitchen stuff whenever you need it. These tips and tricks can make your dorm space more effective and comfortable for prepping and making food.
There is often a misconception that any food that is not fresh, such as canned foods, frozen foods, or dry pre-packaged foods, is unhealthy. This is mainly due to these foods having high salt, fat, or sugar content. It is important to remember that fat, sugar, and salt in these foods serve as a preservative to keep food fresh and extend the expiration time. Just because something is a preservative does not mean it is detrimental to your health. There are many natural ways to preserve foods, and sometimes the “scary” chemical you see on the ingredient list is really just natural preservatives and additives. The only ingredients of possible concern are added artificial coloring and dyes. Research has found that these chemicals may have negative health implications on animals. There are also constant developments of canned, frozen, and pre-packed snacks and meals that have purposefully been made with lower salt, sugar, and fat levels. If you want a baseline of these nutrient recommendations, the American Heart Association recommends you have less than 2300 mg of sodium and 25-36 mg of added sugar per day. When it comes to fat, your recommended amount varies based on your height, age, weight, and gender. A general guideline is fat should be around 20-35% of your diet. The type of fat you consume is also important. Aim to avoid trans and saturated fats and incorporate more unsaturated fats. Saturated fats are in a lot of the food we eat, so do not stress if you consume those. As long as you have more unsaturated fats than saturated, saturated fats will not negatively impact your health.