All of us college students are familiar with the struggle of making healthy recipes in the dorms. For most of us, all we have to work with is a microwave and a mini-fridge (if we’re lucky!). I still remember dreading the days I would have to use my dining hall swipes, and wishing I could find oven-free, healthy recipes to make in my dorm. I found myself constantly enjoying microwavable noodles that most likely left me nutrient-deprived my freshman year. Now, I’ve done all the work for you! Below you will find 10 easy, healthy, and resourceful recipes you may make in the comfort of your dorm. Whether you need quick snacks to grab before class or recipes you can use to stretch out your dining hall swipes for the week- there is something for everyone below! Don’t be afraid to experiment with ingredients you like, cooking is all about finding what works for you.
1. Veggie Filled Rice Paper Tofu Rolls
If you are looking for an easy, healthy, and unique snack- try these rice paper vegetarian rolls! Simply pick out your favorite veggies (I like to add cucumber, carrot, chopped-up mint, red pepper, bean sprouts, and lettuce) and slice them vertically before adding them to your rice paper. Not only is this recipe great for those of us on a budget, but it’s also completely oven-free! When I make this recipe, I prefer to slice up strips of my favorite tofu and add it inside as a source of protein. When making spring rolls it’s important to slightly wet the paper so it will stay closed when you wrap it. Finding easy, healthy, and inexpensive recipes such as this are so important when you’re in the dorms and on the go. A great way to save time is to prep this recipe at the beginning of the week and store it in your mini-fridge for a snack on the go. If you like to have a dipping sauce I suggest combining peanut or sun butter, soy sauce, spices, apple cider vinegar, and water to create a spicy and creamy Thai-inspired peanut sauce!
2. Delicious Pasta Salad With Microwaveable Pasta
I don’t know about you, but when I lived in the dorms all I wanted to do was cook pasta for a comfort meal! We all know how hard it is to find the resources to cook ourselves meals in the dorms. With options now available like Barilla Ready Pasta, all you have to worry about is finding a microwave! When I lived in the dorms, this microwavable pasta salad recipe was a staple in my weekly routine. To recreate this recipe. simply follow the instructions on your microwavable pasta of choice, and set that aside to cool while you prep the salad ingredients. For my pasta salad, I enjoy adding cucumber, edamame, red and orange bell peppers, tomatoes, snap peas, my favorite seasonings, and cheese! For the dressing, I either add a store-bought dressing of choice or mix together olive oil, spices, and lemon juice in a bowl and toss. Not only is it easy, but it’s also vegetarian-friendly!
3. Easy No-Bake Energy Balls
These no-bake energy balls are perfect for those of us who get a sweet tooth. My favorite part about this recipe is that it revolves around one staple ingredient: oats. What you add after that is up to you! For this recipe, I enjoy adding rolled oats, peanut or sun butter, coconut shavings, cacao chips, honey, and dried cranberries. I would avoid adding fresh fruit, however, as it does not freeze well with the mixture and limits how long they will last. After you add all your ingredients into a mixing bowl, simply combine everything and roll into balls! Once you have mixed everything, you can place your energy balls in the fridge or freezer to snack on. I love this recipe because it’s a quick and easy way to get your sugar fix without having to bake anything. In my experience, when placed in the freezer these delicious treats can last up to a month. They are the perfect on-the-go snack, pack a few and snack on them for a boost of energy on the way to class or work!
4. Pinterest Worthy Chia Seed Pudding
Not only is chia seed pudding delicious, but it’s all over Pinterest! This cute and healthy recipe for chia seed pudding is one of my favorites to prep the night before a big test. Chia seeds are high in fiber, protein, and antioxidants- making the perfect brain fuel before a big exam! To make this protein-packed snack all you will need is a mason jar, your milk of choice, chia seeds, and your preferred sweetener. Combine the milk, chia seeds, and sweetener in your mason jar, close it up and leave it in the fridge overnight for best results! This recipe is all about testing out what you like best, experiment with different milk to chia seed ratios to see what consistency works best for you. Once you are ready to enjoy, sprinkle your favorite toppings on the top and you have an Insta story-worthy snack!
5. Fresh Avocado Greek Inspired Salad
Another easy no oven-required meal you can make in your dorm is an Avocado based Greek Salad. My obsession with avocados has been real, it doesn’t hurt that they are full of healthy vitamins and minerals you may be missing from the dining hall food. This delicious and nutritious salad is a quick and easy way to get a restaurant-quality fresh salad from the comfort of your dorm. For this salad, the base ingredients are avocado and cucumber. If you prefer to add an extra crunch, I recommend kale or romaine lettuce as an additional base. From there, the ingredients you add can be adjusted based on what you have on hand. To create a Greek-inspired salad, I use one whole avocado, half a cucumber diced up, kalamata olives, a sprinkle of feta cheese, tomatoes, red onion, and bell peppers. While it is recommended you use the listed ingredients to create Greek-inspired salad, you can play around with whatever you have on hand to make this fresh avocado salad!
6. Vibrant Caprese Salad Toast
Aside from Avocados on literally everything, Caprese salad has been my newest food obsession. I have seen so many delicious and original twists on a traditional Caprese salad that are taking over TikTok. One of my go-to takes on Caprese salad is to put it on toast! All you need for this delicious and refreshing power snack is your favorite bread (I enjoy sourdough), Mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and balsamic if you prefer it! If you don’t have bread, this simple yet delicious recipe can also be made on a bagel! All you have to do is slice mozzarella cheese and tomatoes and lay them out alternating between the two on your bread. Once you are done, drizzle balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction over your toast and add your garnishes! After experimenting with different ingredients I found I enjoy basil, salt, and chili flakes on mine. This recipe can also be resourceful, if you have leftover tomatoes from one of the previous recipes you may put it to use with this quick and healthy snack!
7. Healthy And Colorful Chickpea Salad
During my time in the dorms, salads packed with protein and nutrients were my go-to for a quick and healthy meal when rushing between classes. At first, it can be extremely difficult to adjust to not having a traditional kitchen! Salads are an amazing way to combine a variety of ingredients that will give you the energy you need to get through a long day of classes. This chickpea salad is the perfect way to add some color to your diet. The recipe I follow to make this recipe consists of canned chickpeas, cucumber, assorted bell peppers, cauliflower, red onion, parsley, and broccoli florets. When I make this salad, I like to add protein to make it more nutritious. A great addition to this salad is diced chicken! For a vegetarian option, diced tofu with seasonings of your choice is also a flavorful add-in. For this recipe, I like to make a dressing containing lime juice, chili pepper, olive oil, honey, and a dash of salt! This Chickpea Salad is amazing with a variety of dressing options, you can add whatever you have at the moment. To make it a more filling meal, use pita bread and feta cheese to make it a sandwich!
8. Time Efficient Spicy Hummus Wraps
When you’re in a time crunch, wraps are one of the best ways to enjoy a healthy meal. These wraps are quick and to the point, perfect for when you’re low on prep time. Throw your favorite hummus (I highly recommend red pepper hummus), bell pepper, sliced carrot, cheese, and your favorite protein onto a wrap, and roll it up! I love to cut my wrap into pinwheels so I can easily snack on it when studying or in between classes. Finding quality, resourceful and flavorful food options like this when living in the dorms is so important. We all have experienced the stress of not having enough meal swipes for the day, or not having time to make it to the dining hall between a long day of classes. This wrap is perfect to pack in your bag and save for when you need a pick me up!
9. California Roll Inspired Lettuce Wraps
Lettuce wraps are a surprisingly easy and speedy way to enjoy a wrap. The lettuce adds a satisfying crunch and vibrant color. To make these sushi roll-inspired wraps, I most enjoy using butter or iceberg lettuce but you can use whatever you have on hand. All you will need to remake this twist on my go-to sushi order is imitation crab sticks, slicked avocado, cucumber, lettuce, and soy sauce to dip! Combine all your ingredients in your lettuce wrap and enjoy!
10. Two Minute Greek Yogurt Parfait
Greek yogurt is a delicious way to add some protein and calcium to your diet! This two-minute Greek yogurt parfait is the perfect quick breakfast before that dreaded early morning class. While Greek yogurt by itself is undoubtedly a tasty snack, to add much-needed energy to your day I love to add toppings. To pack some additional protein and calcium into your breakfast, add walnuts and almonds. For a touch of sweetness, I add a drizzle of honey, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Much like the other recipes, this fast parfait recipe can be altered to suit your taste and accommodate whatever interests you have at the moment. I suggest spicing it up by adding cinnamon or granola!
11. Eating Healthy In The Dorms Can Be Done!
Finding inspiration to create healthy recipes while living in the dorms can be challenging but not impossible! Experiment with the recipes above and find what works for you! What was your favorite meal to cook in your dorm? Share below!