Easy College Meals: Fast and Healthy Recipes for Students
Eager to stay nourished while saving time and money? By learning how to make a good variety of cheap and easy college meals, you can keep yourself energized and focus more of your efforts on your studies and other activities.
In fact, eating well in college is easier than most students realize. But if you're skeptical, we get it. Maintaining a good diet can seem like a tough goal when you're a college student. Recipes can feel too complicated, grocery shopping too time-consuming, and nutritious food too expensive.
Sound familiar? Don't worry. We have plenty of solutions. No matter how busy you are, preparing nutritious meals in college is more than possible.
Here's a good first step: Make sure you have healthy options available. Balanced eating starts with a well-rounded grocery list and a collection of fast and easy college recipes like the ones featured below.
In this article, you'll find plenty of recipes and ideas for quick meals for college students. You'll also discover how to master some basic cooking techniques that can expand your options for creative dorm cooking. And you'll learn which cooking tools to bring to college, why making your own meals is often the best option, and more.
- Basic breakfasts for a strong start
- Simple lunch ideas for college students
- (Almost) no-cook meals for college students who don't have a microwave
- Easy college dinners that can be made in a microwave
- Dorm-friendly snacks
- Mastering the basics
- Why cooking your own meals is often the best idea
- Cooking tools to bring to college
- Tips for safe cooking
Note: Anyone can make these healthy recipes. For college students in apartments, the options are broader since they often have access to more cooking appliances and more space. But healthy cooking is a bit more challenging in a dorm room, so we've focused on college food recipes that don't require a stove.
Basic Breakfasts for a Strong Start
Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Many college students choose a few extra minutes of sleep over a good meal. But the old adage may be true. One study confirmed that eating a regular breakfast is linked with lower stress levels and higher satisfaction when dealing with problems.1
The best breakfasts will give you long-lasting energy throughout the morning. So for breakfast in college, you should eat food that's high in protein—to help you stay full, alert, and stress-free.
These delicious recipes can start your day on a good note:
1. Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
Photo courtesy of The Worktop
Who says you can't have chocolate pudding for breakfast? This recipe from The Worktop has added protein and fiber from the chia seeds, so it can help you fend off "hangry" feelings all morning. Add some fresh fruit if you have some.
2. Mocha Overnight Oats
Photo courtesy of Live Eat Learn
Making your breakfast the night before can help you get going quickly the next day. This flavorful version of overnight oats from Live Eat Learn has the added perk of a little caffeine, so you can head to class feeling energized.
3. Microwaved Steel-Cut Oats
Photo courtesy of Brodie Visser from Burst
Steel-cut oats are made from oat groats, just like the oats in instant oatmeal. But they have a more substantial texture than instant oats because they are processed differently. Instant oats are rolled, then cut into small pieces for quick cooking. In contrast, steel-cut oats are cut with a steel blade. Because they're less processed, they have a lower glycemic value. That means they'll keep you feeling full longer, which makes them a more satisfying breakfast option.
It's possible to speed up the cooking time of steel-cut oats—and make them more dorm-friendly—by cooking them in a microwave. Here's how:
- Put 1/4-cup of steel-cut oats into a bowl.
- Add 1/2-cup of water.
- Add flavoring if you want. (Cinnamon is good!)
- Microwave for about 2-1/2 minutes.
4. Apple Wedges With Pumpkin Almond Butter
Not sure if you want to eat a big breakfast? This lighter dish from the USDA ChooseMyPlate recipe collection provides the essential energy you'll need. Be sure to include the cinnamon; it really brings the flavors together.
Simple Lunch Ideas for College Students
Even if you live on campus, you probably have days when you don't have time to stop at the cafeteria or go back to your dorm room. That means you may have to take your lunch with you. But if you're going to be on the go for a college lunch, you should pack things that will stay fresh.
For example, because they're easily portable, salads, sandwiches, and wraps are popular college lunch ideas. But one problem with toting a salad around campus is that the lettuce and other good crunchy ingredients can get soggy. The solution? A mason jar salad. By strategically arranging all ingredients into a jar, you can separate the wet items from the lettuce and other foods that could get too damp.
(If you don't have a mason jar, no worries. You can make these salads in any container that has enough height for layering. Also, it's worth noting that you don't have to eat the salad from the jar. In fact, it's better if you dump the entire contents onto a plate.)
You can even buy protective sleeves if you're worried about the jar breaking.
Check out these unique and portable lunch options:
5. Taco Mason Jar Salad
Photo courtesy of Simply Quinoa
Looking for some Tex-Mex to go? Try this salad from the awesome Simply Quinoa blog. You can experiment by trying different kinds of beans or adding more veggies.
6. Greek Salad in Jars
Photo courtesy of Simply Recipes
With just a bit of advance prep work, you can make nutritious, portable lunches for four days. Learn how from Simply Recipes.
7. Super Sandwiches
Photo courtesy of rawpixel on Unsplash
Sandwiches are another versatile option when you're wondering what you can make for lunch and "fast and easy" are the main criteria. Here are some tips for making winning sandwiches:
- Look beyond the Wonder Bread. Try pita bread, rye bread, or tortilla shells in place of regular bread. And remember that whole grains will help you feel satisfied longer.
- If you're crunched for time, try making a sandwich the night before. But hold off on adding ingredients that could make it soggy, like fresh tomatoes.
- Protect your sandwich from getting squished by putting it in a plastic or glass reusable container.
8. Rainbow Roll-Ups With Peanut Sauce
Photo courtesy of Pinch of Yum
Trying to stay away from bread? Love veggies? Check out this portable, colorful wrap from Pinch of Yum. It takes a bit more prep time than a cheese sandwich, but it's much more interesting—and better for you.
9. Hummus Wrap
This nutritious wrap is another portable option. Be sure to keep it cool by including an ice pack in your lunch bag.
(Almost) No-Cook Meals for College Students Who Don't Have a Microwave
Not all students have access to a microwave. But creative college students make food by thinking outside of the microwaveable box. For a couple of the easy, healthy college recipes below, all you need is a clean work space, a few ingredients, and some utensils.
10. Chickpea, Avocado, and Feta Salad
Photo courtesy of Two Peas and Their Pod
If you don't have a microwave or another way to heat your food, a protein-packed salad is a good option. Plus, you'll get some of your daily veggies. Here's a delicious salad from the Two Peas and Their Pod blog that has plenty of protein, fiber, and flavor. Don't forget the lime; it really makes this salad distinct. (Try substituting the feta with a few olives if you're vegan.)
11. Pineapple Poke Bowl
Photo courtesy of Live Eat Learn
This refreshing Hawaiian-inspired bowl from Live Eat Learn requires no cooking if you buy precooked rice.
12. Ironed Grilled Cheese Sandwich
One option for cooking meals if you don't have a microwave is to get creative by using something you have on hand—like a clothes iron.
It's important to follow these instructions exactly because it's very hard to get burnt cheese off of an iron! Also, if you prefer to avoid dairy, vegan slices (like those from Daiya) will melt just like other cheeses. And you can replace the butter with a vegan spread such as Earth Balance.
- Plug in your iron and turn it to a medium heat setting. Make sure it doesn't have any water in it. Place it in a safe place (preferably standing on its wider end on an ironing board, but a baking sheet will also work).
- Tear off about one square foot of aluminum foil and have it nearby.
- Butter one side of a slice of bread. Put the slice onto the aluminum foil, buttered side down.
- Put cheese and any other fillings on top of that slice. (See the filling ideas below.)
- Put another slice of bread on top of the fillings and butter the top of that slice.
- Wrap the entire sandwich in the aluminum foil. Make sure it's tightly wrapped so that no cheese leaks out.
- Iron the sandwich. Start with four minutes on one side, then check your progress. Turn over the sandwich and iron the other side. It may need four minutes on both sides, but check often since iron temperatures vary.
Some grilled cheese sandwich filling ideas include:
- Smoked gouda and roasted red peppers
- Apple slices and cheddar
- Swiss cheese and mushrooms
13. Ironed Quesadilla
You can also try the ironing technique above with quesadillas—just substitute soft tortillas for the bread. (And you may need a larger square of aluminum foil.) Here are some great quesadilla ideas:
- Mashed avocado and refried beans
- Spinach and feta cheese, served with salsa
- Black beans and Monterey Jack cheese
14. Cooking With a Coffee Maker
You can find plenty of fancy tips online for cooking food using a coffee maker. In fact, it's possible to cook a complete salmon dinner using just a coffee maker. But when it comes to meals for college students who are cooking in dorms, it's best to keep it simple. Because of the potential fire risk, avoid cooking things on the heating element of any coffee maker. Here are some basic foods you can safely prepare with a coffee maker:
- Broccoli—Put some broccoli in the top part of the coffee maker (where the filter goes), then run some water through the machine. The broccoli will be steamed as the water passes through. You can also steam asparagus using this technique.
- Ramen noodles—Place ramen noodles in the coffee pot. Then pour the amount of water that the ramen instructions recommend into the water reservoir and turn the coffee maker on. Let the noodles sit for a while after the water is in the pot so that they can absorb the water.
Be sure to clean your coffee maker afterwards so that your morning coffee doesn't taste like the food you cooked.
Easy College Dinners That Can Be Made in a Microwave
Wondering what you should make for dinner when you're feeling lazy? Let your microwave be your guide.
After all, you probably already know that you can "cook fast" by heating up premade frozen meals in a microwave. And let's face it, sometimes the easiest thing to cook is a frozen meal from the supermarket. (Just be sure to check the nutritional information. Many prepackaged frozen meals are very high in sodium.)
Obviously, students who eat alone often turn to frozen meals because they contain a single serving. But did you know that if you're looking for healthy and easy recipes for one college student, you don't need to look any further than your coffee mug?
That's right: If you have a microwave, it's possible to cook many easy recipes in a mug. And this style of cooking is surprisingly versatile. Check out books like these for some ideas:
- Microwave Mug Recipes: 50 Delicious, Quick and Easy Mug Meals by Julie Hatfield. (If you're skeptical that good meals for college students can be made in a mug, this book will convince you that it's possible!)
- 250 Best Meals in a Mug: Delicious Homemade Microwave Meals in Minutes by Camilla Saulsbury. (Filled with options from afternoon snacks to easy dinners. For college students with a microwave, this book can open the door to many simple meals.)
So, what else can you make in a dorm? A general guideline is that, as a student, you should make fast and nutritious meals for dinner. And that's totally possible—even with limited equipment and space. The following dinner ideas for college students can be cooked quickly in a microwave, don't require many ingredients, and taste better than a lot of cafeteria food:
15. Five-Minute Vegetarian Burrito Bowl
Photo courtesy of Healthy Liv
Burrito bowls are some of the best meals for college students because they can be easily adapted to different tastes and dietary needs. Plus, they're tasty and nutritious. So it all adds up: You should make a burrito bowl for a vegetarian dinner if you want something delicious and filling. Check out this simple version from the Healthy Liv blog.
16. Microwave Macaroni and Cheese
Photo courtesy of Hermes Rivera on Unsplash
The homemade casserole version of mac and cheese is usually the best kind. But what about those nights when even the boxed version seems too high-maintenance? That's when a microwave comes in handy. Microwaved mac and cheese isn't just simple comfort food; it's also one of the most popular college student meals.
There's room for creativity here, but these are the basic steps:
- Put one-half of a cup of water and one-third of a cup of pasta into a bowl.
- Microwave for two minutes, then take out and stir. Microwave for two more minutes and check your progress. Is the pasta soft enough? If not, continue microwaving in one-minute bursts until the pasta reaches your preferred level of firmness.
- Add some grated cheese (about one-quarter of a cup is a good start) and a couple tablespoons of the milk of your choice (feel free to use something non-dairy such as soy milk). Also, dairy-free shredded cheese works well, if that's your preference.
- Put it back into the microwave for 30 seconds at a time. Adjust the cheese and milk as you go, until you have the desired creaminess.
Want to add a little kick to your mac and cheese? Toss in a bit of pesto, hot sauce, or salsa.
17. Microwave Gluten-Free Vegan Mac & Cheese for One
Photo courtesy of Strength & Sunshine
Looking for healthier college dinner recipes? Strength & Sunshine offers this super-easy, gluten-free, vegan mac and cheese recipe. The nutritional yeast is a key ingredient that gives this dish its cheesy flavor. (Note that nutritional yeast is different from the yeast used for baking bread.) If you can't find nutritional yeast in a grocery store, check a health-food store. It's usually in the baking aisle or in the bulk-food section. You can also find it online.
18. Baked Sweet Potato
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Sweet potatoes are a nutritious alternative to white potatoes. They can also act as a good base for lots of college dinners. For example, try topping a cooked sweet potato with salsa, black beans, and avocado, or add some feta cheese and chives.
To cook a sweet potato in the microwave, poke it with a fork a few times, then microwave it for about eight minutes. After eight minutes, check to see if it needs more time.
19. Ramen Noodles
Photo courtesy of Michelle Krozser from Burst
Like many students, you might feel that when you're really poor, you should eat lots of ramen noodles. After all, they're a low-budget college classic. However, although ramen noodles are one of the most popular cheap and easy meals for college students, they get low marks for nutrition. And did you know that the average ramen noodle package contains two servings? That means you get an awful lot of sodium if you eat a whole package. (And seriously, who stops at half the package?)
But here's a useful tip: Instead of the high-sodium flavoring packets these soups usually come with, try adding some Asian-flavored salad dressing (like sesame ginger).
To cook ramen noodles in a microwave, follow these steps:
- Put the noodles in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Cover the noodles with water. (This typically takes between one to two cups of water.)
- Microwave for three to five minutes. The exact time will vary by microwave.
- Let them sit a couple of minutes before you take them out of the microwave.
For an even faster way to make ramen noodles, try a microwave ramen cooker.
Here are some extremely easy and cheap recipes for college students that can help you turn a package of ramen noodles into a more interesting meal:
- Make a simple "pad thai" by adding a tablespoon or two of peanut butter and a few drops of siracha sauce to the cooked noodles (drain them first), then microwave for about 30 more seconds.
- Add an egg to the bowl when you have one minute of microwaving left, then microwave again for the remaining minute.
- Steam some veggies in the microwave before making the noodles, then add them to the cooked noodles.
- Add some raw spinach and red pepper flakes to the cooked noodles.
Making good choices for snacks can help you stay focused when you're studying. And it's not as hard as you might think to find nutritious snack foods that still taste good. Easy options include:
- Rice cakes
- Fresh fruit
- Hummus and crackers
20. Chocolate Chip Microwave Cookies
Photo courtesy of Chocolate Covered Katie
Sometimes you just want to treat yourself. When you're craving homemade comfort food, try these chocolate chip cookies from Chocolate Covered Katie. Because there's nothing quite like a chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven—even if it's a microwave oven.
Mastering the Basics
In order to get more creative with your meals, you should learn to cook these basic dishes in your dorm room. Once you've mastered these easy college recipes, you can make a simple meal by adapting them to fit your own personal tastes and dietary needs. You'll soon discover that having a good repertoire of the basics is like building the foundation of a house, then adding your own personal touches.
How to Cook Pasta in a Dorm Room
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Pasta is an affordable and filling staple. If you can boil water, you can make a pot of pasta. And since uncooked pasta is easy to store, you'll always have an answer for those times when you're wondering what you should eat when there's nothing to eat.
If you don't have access to a full kitchen, you cook pasta in a dorm room by using the microwave. A microwave pasta cooker makes this extremely easy. If you don't have a pasta cooker, just follow these steps:
- Put one-half to one cup of pasta in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Cover the pasta with water. The water should be a couple of inches over the pasta. It's better to have too much water (you can drain it later) than not enough, which will make the pasta too starchy.
- Check the cooking directions on the box of pasta. Add two minutes to the amount of time that the directions recommend for boiling the pasta and microwave for that length of time.
- Check the pasta. If it's not the right degree of tenderness for you, microwave it again for one minute at a time.
Many students serve pasta topped with a can of tomato sauce. After all, it's one of the classic cheap college dinner ideas. But you can also mix it up a bit by adding one of these options instead:
- A jar of marinated artichoke hearts
- Lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil
- Butter and parmesan
- Fresh tomatoes and store-bought pesto
How to Cook Quinoa in a Microwave
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Quinoa is a filling, high-protein alterative to rice. It can be pricey, however, so bulk-food stores are the best place to purchase it.
You can create many easy dinner recipes for college students if you start with a bowl of cooked quinoa. Just add veggies, a lean protein, and some herbs, salsa, or salad dressing, and you'll have a well-rounded meal in minutes.
To cook quinoa in a dorm room, follow these directions:
- Rinse the quinoa to get rid of any residue or tiny rocks.
- Put one cup of quinoa into a microwavable bowl.
- Add two cups of water and cover the bowl.
- Microwave for six minutes.
- Take out and stir.
- Microwave for two more minutes.
- When the two minutes are up, let it sit for a while so that the quinoa can absorb the rest of the water.
How to Cook Rice in a Microwave
Photo courtesy of Pille-Riin Priske on Unsplash
Rice is another good base for a variety of easy meals for college students. For example, lots of canned stews and thick soups are great served on top of rice. And if you have a craving for an Indian dinner, you should make rice with curried lentils.
To cook rice in a microwave, you can buy one of the many brands of microwavable rice that are available. Or you can follow these steps:
- Place one cup of rice in a microwave-proof container. (Remember that rice will expand as it cooks, so make sure the container will be big enough.)
- Add two cups of water and a pinch of salt.
- Cover the container and microwave for five minutes.
- Carefully take off the lid (there will be steam) and fluff up the rice a bit with a fork.
- Put the lid back on and microwave for 15 minutes.
Note: Harmful bacteria can grow quickly in rice at room temperature, so pop any leftovers into your fridge within an hour.
How to Cook Eggs in a Microwave
Eggs can be cooked in many different ways. They're very versatile. That makes them a great option for fast and simple college meals. Depending on how you want to eat it, you cook an egg in a microwave by following these directions:
- Crack two eggs into a microwaveable dish.
- Add a bit of milk (about one tablespoon per egg) and a dash of salt.
- Stir the mixture well.
- Microwave for about 45 seconds.
- Take it out and stir everything again, then microwave for 30 to 45 seconds.
The eggs will continue to cook a bit after they come out of the microwave.
It's possible to boil eggs in a microwave, but there's a risk that the egg will explode with a surprising amount of force. (Check out YouTube for some exploding-egg videos if you're curious.) That's why it's a good idea to use a microwavable egg cooker.
This cooking method is also safe, although the egg won't look like a traditional hard-boiled egg:
- Use vegetable oil or cooking spray to grease a microwavable cup or dish.
- Crack an egg into the container.
- Pierce the yolk a few times. This will stop it from exploding.
- Cover the container with plastic wrap, leaving a bit open in a corner for ventilation.
- Microwave for about 30 seconds, then check on the egg.
- Microwave for more time as needed.
Sunny-Side Up Eggs
- Crack an egg onto a plate and pierce the yolk a couple of times.
- Microwave for about 45 seconds, then check the egg's progress.
- Microwave for more time as needed.
How to Cook Vegetables in a Microwave
Don't forget your veggies! In all seriousness, a diet high in vegetables is linked to cognitive benefits (and we need those kinds of benefits when we are studying). As well, veggies are filling and good for your immune system.
Keeping prepared raw veggies on hand will encourage you to eat them regularly. They'll also be ready when you need something to add to healthy college meals like soups and salads. So when you get back from the grocery store, try doing some "meal prep" by cutting up or peeling your vegetables.
You can also cook vegetables in your dorm room if you have a microwave. Steaming vegetables is a good option. Use a microwavable steamer or follow these directions:
- Place vegetables in a microwave-safe container that has a lid.
- Add a bit of water. (You don't need to cover the vegetables with water. You just want enough to create some steam.)
- Cover the bowl.
- Microwave for two minutes. Check your progress, then add more microwaving time if required.
- Carefully remove the lid, watching out for steam.
How to Cook a Potato in a Microwave
Learning how to cook a potato can open the door to many cheap, easy meals. For college students who live in dorm rooms, the best option for cooking a potato is usually the microwave. Just follow these directions:
- Scrub the potato and prick it with a fork a few times.
- Cook at the microwave's highest power for five minutes. Turn it over and cook it for another five minutes.
- Let the potato cool a bit before removing it.
A baked potato isn't just a side dish. You can make healthy meals in college by getting creative and adding lean proteins and veggies on top of a cooked potato. For example, try:
- Black beans and salsa
- Steamed broccoli and cheddar cheese
- A can of chili
Why Cooking Your Own Meals Is Often the Best Idea
When you're short on cash and time, fast food seems like the easiest option. But it turns out that truly cheap college food is often homemade. So pausing for a minute before you head out for fast food can really pay off. That's because if you calculate the time and money invested in a quick burger, you'll often be surprised. Consider this: The average restaurant meal costs $13. The average cost of cooking a meal at home is just $4.2
In addition, the cafeteria food that college students purchase on meal plans is often more expensive than homemade food. In fact, one study found that under a meal plan, a student spends $18.75 per day, on average.3 In contrast, single Americans, overall, spend an average of $12.15 a day.4 (That doesn't mean you need to cook every meal in your dorm. But it certainly is food for thought—no pun intended.)
Plus, homemade food is usually healthier. So despite many media stories about the dreaded "freshman 15," you can have a good diet in college by reducing the amount of processed food that you eat.
Here's the bottom line: You can stay healthy in college by turning to whole foods like fruits and vegetables as often as you can and having some easy, healthy recipes for college students on hand. Taking the time to learn how to make basic college meals is an important part of eating healthy in college.
Cooking Tools to Bring to College
Having the right equipment is one of the biggest challenges of dorm-room cooking. For college students who live on campus, deciding what to bring to college is often a matter of what's allowed. Be sure you find out what's permitted at your school. You should also find out what kind of facilities you will have. Sometimes there is a shared kitchen in college dorms that feature two or more rooms that connect to each other through common areas. But most individual, stand-alone dorm rooms do not have a kitchen.
It's also important to know that not all colleges allow microwaves in dorm rooms. Why not? Electricity use is often a concern. If too many students use microwaves at the same time, electrical circuits could overload. So even dorms that do allow microwaves may have restrictions with regard to size or wattage.
The same rules can apply to refrigerators. So look for dorm-friendly fridges if you plan to bring one, and be sure to check the rules at your campus first.
Even if you're limited in what you're allowed to use, some simple tools help make college cooking more efficient (and often tidier). So make sure you have these items:
- Garbage bags
- Dish soap
- Dishes (a couple of plates and bowls at a minimum)
- A can or bottle opener
- Reusable containers for food storage
- A coffee mug or portable coffee cup
- Towels and dishcloths
- Measuring cups and spoons
Also, having a simple college cookbook can help you come up with even more fast and healthy meals. Here are a few suggestions:
- The 5-Ingredient College Cookbook: Easy, Healthy Recipes for the Next Four Years & Beyond by Pamela Ellgen. (Keeping it simple and focusing on these easy 5-ingredient meals for college students is a good plan for cooking regularly.)
- How to Feed Yourself: 100 Fast, Cheap, and Reliable Recipes for Cooking When You Don't Know What You're Doing by Spoon University. (This book offers easy recipes for college students, created and tested by other college students.)
- The Healthy College Cookbook by Alexandra Nimetz, Jason Stanley, and Emeline Starr. (It's true! Healthy meals for college students do exist.)
- Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day by Leanne Brown. (This book is filled with nutritious, easy, and affordable recipes. For college students with a full kitchen, it's a great resource for eating well on a budget. And for every copy purchased, the publisher donates another copy to someone in need.)
- Ultimate Dining Hall Hacks: Create Extraordinary Dishes from the Ordinary Ingredients in Your College Meal Plan by Priya Krishna. (This book offers a new take on college cooking, with recipes centered around food you get from the cafeteria, then add your own twist to.)
- How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food, 10th Anniversary Edition by Mark Bittman. (This is a fantastic resource for all kinds of recipes. For college students in apartments, this is a great introduction to cooking. But you'll need a full kitchen for many of the recipes, so it may be impractical in a dorm.)
Tips for Safe Cooking
Nobody is cleaning up after you once you're in college. But a desire to be independent is likely one reason why you're a college student and living on your own in the first place. So, you're probably going to be careful about being considerate of others and not making a mess. Learning how to live self-sufficiently—including the not-so-fun stuff like doing the dishes—is part of the college experience.
However, it's important to realize that it's actually even more crucial that you clean up after yourself in dorms than it was at home. For one thing, you may now be sharing your space with people who don't love you unconditionally like your family does. For another, dorms typically have a lot of people squeezed into relatively small living quarters. Imagine if they all left trash around and you'll understand why universities and colleges often face battles with rodents, insects, and other unwanted guests—simply because students haven't cleaned up after themselves.
And don't forget: Cleaning up includes washing your dishes. Leaving dirty dishes lying around is an invitation for bugs. Unwashed dishes can also smell bad. And if you reuse them, you run the risk of food poisoning. If you don't have a sink in your room or access to a kitchen, you'll have to use your bathroom sink.
Here are a few other safety and courtesy tips:
- Don't leave a microwave alone while food is cooking in it. You never know whether something might burn. So stay in the same room until the microwave is finished cooking your food.
- Store all food in containers. Leaving leftovers sitting out will raise the risk of them going bad, so they should be put in the fridge within two hours. That applies to last night's pizza as well.
- Don't use aluminum foil, paper, or cardboard in a microwave. Also, avoid things like the plastic containers that yogurt comes in.
- Be sure to clean up your crumbs. Ants will find them!
- Make sure any meats are stored separately from other foods in order to avoid cross-contamination. (In fact, because you typically have a small space, less-than-ideal cleaning stations, and a limited budget in college, vegetarian recipes are the best bet for dorm cooking.)
Own Your Future
Now that you know how to make some easy college recipes, you'll be better prepared to do what's necessary in order to stay healthy during the course of your education. You'll also be able to focus more of your time on ensuring that you're pursuing the right educational path.
Speaking of which, have you ever explored the benefits of vocational colleges and trade schools? You can easily find convenient, career-focused training near you. Just enter your zip code into the search tool below to see programs in your area!
1 San Francisco State University, College Student's Breakfast Eating Habits, Stress Levels, and Satisfaction with Handling Problems: A Five‐Day Diary Study, website last visited on November 19, 2019.
2 Money Under 30, "The True Cost Of Eating Out (And How to Save)," website last visited on November 19, 2019.
3 The Hechinger Report, "A tough-to-swallow reason college keeps costing more: the price of meal plans," website last visited on November 19, 2019.
4 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey, website last visited on November 19, 2019.