Young adults heading off to college are often learning how to do common household duties for the first time. Basic tasks like laundry, cleaning, and cooking can be tricky to get right and require a bit of trial and error.
Some college students have grown accustomed to having a parent or guardian cook for them throughout childhood, and upon moving into a dorm room, aren’t sure where to start in preparing meals for themselves.
But healthy recipes for college students can be simple! Today, we’re providing guidance on equipment and ingredients for college students to use, plus recipes for jam-packed days.
Basic equipment to have on hand
With such limited space, college students don’t have the luxury of keeping every kitchen gadget on hand. Basic kitchen equipment can be used for a variety of recipes.
Keeping perishable items cold is a must, and since many dorm rooms don’t come with refrigeration, it’s helpful to have your own. Choose a refrigerator that is compact enough to squeeze in a tight space.
Ideal for late night study sessions and mornings on-the-go, a microwave is a life saving meal prep tool for busy college students.
No need to go overboard! A simple set of forks, knives, and spoons will do. Opt for a plastic set, which will last longer and not chip as easily as porcelain or ceramic.
Perfect for days on the run to class, a portable blender quickly makes nourishing smoothies, sauces, and soups from scratch.
4 easy recipes for college students
Now that you have the equipment to rock dorm room meal prep, now all you need are a few simple recipes!
A pizza quesadilla is great for times when you’re craving pizza but looking for an alternative to a greasy by-the-slice!
Basic ingredients include whole wheat tortillas, a jar of pizza sauce, and your choice of cheese. Lay 1 tortilla flat on a microwaveable plate and top with pizza sauce and cheese, plus any toppings. Try breaking Sea Salt Beef Chomps sticks up into small pieces for a pepperoni-like pop of flavor.
Noodles are a college food staple known and loved by busy students. But the flavor packets that come with most ramen noodles are filled with sodium … not exactly the most nutritious option.
However, ramen can easily be made healthy with a couple of simple ingredients! Try swapping the flavor packet with a soy sauce / sriracha sauce combo. Then, heat up a bag of mixed veggies in the microwave (like this one), and add to your ramen! For an extra serving of protein, enjoy a Chomps stick of any flavor on the side.
Pesto and turkey sandwich
Pesto, meet turkey … and turkey, meet pesto. If you’re a college student who stocks their lunch with a plain old sandwich, listen up! You can add variety to even the simplest sandwich by adding dressing.
Pesto is a great sandwich addition because it goes perfectly with most types of meats, cheeses, and toppings. Purchase a jar of pre-made pesto and spread a small amount on both sides of the bread. Then include any other ingredients, like turkey, sliced tomato, and microwaveable bacon for a made-in-the-dorm-room-style BLT.
For students who are accustomed to having ample space in their kitchens at home, moving to a small dorm room with no kitchen can be a major adjustment. Especially for those who love breakfast and cooking morning favorites like pancakes, french toast, and hashbrowns.
Overnight oats are an excellent solution for the college student whose favorite meal of the day is breakfast. This overnight oats recipe includes ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup of milk, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, and a teaspoon of honey. Toppings like bananas, strawberries, or blueberries help add flavor.
Bacon mac ‘n cheese
Who doesn’t love a cozy bowl of macaroni and cheese?! College can be stressful, and sometimes eating a favorite comfort food can be a nice study break. Evol mac & cheese is pre-portioned and packed with 13 grams of protein to keep you full.
If you love the taste of bacon on top of mac and cheese but are looking for an easier swap, Chomps meat sticks are a tasty bacon substitute. Just break any flavor of Chomps stick into small pieces and stir into cooked mac and cheese.
Resources for more college recipes
For dorm room chefs looking to try even more recipes, there are several websites that provide information for those navigating campus kitchens.
We love that this website is written by real college students and provides an approachable food community. With recipes for the microwave, 5 ingredients, snacks, and more, there’s something for every occasion a college student may encounter.
College students don’t always have much money to spend on groceries, and that’s okay! Delicious recipes can be made cheap, and Budget Bytes caters to shoppers who want to eat well but not break the bank.
This blog is a great resource for couples who are living together for the first time, or those who are living with roommates and looking to combine kitchens! Declan and Erica are masters of savvy grocery shopping and live off of just $10 per day of food.
College students, your focus should be on getting good grades, hanging out with friends, and soaking in the best 4 years of your life … not spending tons of time cooking! We hope this guide to easy recipes for college students was helpful and leaves you feeling empowered to try new recipes from the comfort of your dorm room.
And for those times when you’re stuck with what to cook or snack on? Chomps meat sticks are the perfect go-to college snack option!