Eating Healthy in a Dorm Room

//Eating Healthy in a Dorm Room

How do you eat healthy in a dorm room and prevent what many college-bound students know as “The Freshman 15” – the rapid gain of weight because of a lack of concern for the food they eat in those early days of finally being “free” from home!!  This was inspired by a question I received from a young friend.  I hope it helps other college students have some healthy eating ideas.  Feel free to add your ideas in the comments section below!!


Hey Jenni!

I hope you and your family are doing well. I love looking at your blog!

I have a question for you in your expertise of nutrition. I am at UCF now and living in a dorm, but don’t have a meal plan. I was just wondering if you had any ideas of healthy ways to eat when all I have is a mini fridge and microwave.  I just don’t want to be eating out every day. 🙂   Any ideas for healthy dorm life eating?  ♥ Kaylin


Hey girl!  Thanks for contacting me! And thanks for your sweet words!!

Aahh, yes, dorm life!!  College was actually when I got into Shaklee (vitamins, protein, etc) b/c the food was so bad and I felt so bad that I had to do something.   I did the research and saw Shaklee to be the best.  After 3 months on the basic nutrition program and protein shakes it helped me tremendously.

It was great because they have protein shakes that you can get a shaker cup for (since blenders don’t always work with a roommate sleeping next to you!!) that you can just add milk/water and ice, shake it up and that’s breakfast or lunch. I did a shake every single day. It radically changed how I felt and I knew I was getting all the amino acids every day!

I would use coconut, almond, or rice milk if you can get it where you are at rather than reg milk. If you use milk get organic. Regular milk has tons of hormones from what they inject in the cows and it will mess with your hormones, weight, etc.

I also ate a lot of oatmeal. I would heat water in my room than add a pack. I just bought plain and then bought honey, agave, or stevia to sweeten. I also bought a thing of cinnamon to add some flavor. You can also add a scoop of vanilla protein to a bowl of oatmeal and it makes a great meal.

Keep a bag of apples, grapes, bananas, baby carrots, celery, and a tomato, in your fridge for snacking while studying. I bought no-sugar added Peanut Butter to add to the celery.

Apples are great when you are running out the door late for class!

Kashi has some great meals that are frozen that could maybe fit in your freezer section. You might be able to get 1-2 in the small compartment. I would just plan ahead for when you want to eat these meals in your room so you have enough space.  Maybe start with buying 1 a week.

You can also bake a potato in a microwave.

Tuna is always good and quick on salad or crackers.

You can buy a small bunch of romaine lettuce or some spinach and make a salad with any veggies in your fridge that week.  Buy a salt and pepper shaker and use this on your salad or on the tuna.

Buy Annie’s pasta on occasion for a quick meal in the room.  Just don’t eat this for dinner. It would be better to eat pasta for lunch so you aren’t sleeping on sugar. That’s what pasta turns to. You need sugars earlier in the day, but by evening look for protein and veggies sources.

You can always get cans of beans and eat with some corn chips or a chopped pepper.

In the organic section of your store, they probably have healthier soups, chilis, and vegetables.

The bottom line is, REAL vs. processed is always better.  Your cells, which are alive, can not get life from dead food. So be choosy about how much processed you eat over your college days. This is where many college kids go wrong!! But to accomplish this, you will have to be strategic since you have a small fridge. So buy weekly, and plan ahead what your meals will be so you only buy what you will eat!

I highly recommend the protein shake because it is at least one good meal for the day and it’s easy! Let me know if you want more info on that.

I also took something called Vitalizer, from Shaklee as well, that is a strip of foundational nutrients that everyone needs every day (girls need the pink box b/c it has iron in it, and boys need the blue with no iron).  Even though we do our best to eat right, we may not every single day plus our food is very depleted.  In the very least, I would get a good multivitamin (VitaLea) that has a tested absorption rate so you are getting all the nutrients and not wasting them into the toilet. 🙂

I have a homemade protein bar recipe that you can do right in your dorm room. You don’t really even have to cook it. You would just need a pan or glass dish to put it in.  I would suggest cutting the bars apart after it’s pressed into the pan, and getting aluminum foil or plastic wrap and wrapping each bar individually. That way you have something quick to grab.  I lived off these!!!  It’s way cheaper than buying a box of 4-6 bars for 6 dollars at the store.  This recipe will make you a whole pan and last you 1-2 weeks!!

Hope this helps!


  • This is so much help. I think planning out meals will help a lot too. It’s just hard when you can’t really cook and don’t want to go out every night. Thanks again for the advice!!

    Kaylin Bassett 02.09.2010
  • Question, I’ve been meaning to ask you. Eating healthy at school is such a challenge, especially because all the dinner options are loaded with carbs. I find that there are plenty of healthy breakfast and lunch options but dinner is a struggle. Is it bad to make protein shakes for dinner?

    Sarah Gregory 04.09.2010
    • No, totally do it for dinner!! Just don’t put fruit in it at dinner then. Do PB, almond butter, kale, spinach, cocoa powder, stevia….something more protein and vegetable-ish!! Use almond milk or coconut milk if you can! We so need to talk! I have company here but will try and email you back or call you tomorrow! xoxo

      • Oh and I also find that if I have one at night, I crave the sweet stuff less!! It’s higher satiety and it’s sweet so it satisfies me!

  • I’m so glad that you’ve posted this, Jenni! I’ve had the same questions as Kaylin–navigating college meals with or without a meal plan can get pretty complicated. I’ve found that oatmeal with agave or fruit is a great option, and I keep a bag of milled flaxseed in our mini-fridge to stir in with my oatmeal (or yogurt), too.

    This year, Tulane partnered with a New Orleans organization to create a weekly CSA-type option for students to get fresh, local produce delivered to campus (most students don’t have cars). I’m still exploring the details, but I think it could be something to look into (and maybe even see if other universities have similar programs?)

    And, I’m definitely interested in getting more information about the protein shake options from Shaklee : )

    nina coyle 07.09.2010
    • Hey girl! Those ideas are great!! We love flaxseed/flaxmeal! It is great in a shake too. I’d love to talk to you about them! I’ve actually been thinking about you alot this week. You just keep coming to my mind! I will call or FB you when I get a chance!! Love you!

  • Thank you for posting this! I just moved from Massachusetts to Florida and in the employee housing they give us the same equipment as the original asker, a microwave and a fridge. I’ve been at a loss as to what I should eat that wouldn’t be too unhealthy and this article is exactly what I was looking for 🙂 Thanks again!

    Tom 03.11.2011
    • Your welcome Tom! The protein bars and oatmeal is how I survived through college in a dorm room! Keep me posted on how you do with it! Maybe we can come up with more ideas. 😉

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