Six ways to learn healthy eating in your dorm

Emma Collins

Living in a college dorm can come with a multitude of challenges, from crazy roommates to loud neighbors, but one of the struggles students often face is how to eat healthy when living in such a small room.

With only a mini-fridge to keep food fresh, it can often seem like a losing battle for those students who prefer healthy foods to Papa John’s and Chick-fil-A.

Don’t worry, though; there are a number of ways to bring healthy living into your dorm room. All it takes is a little planning and a quick trip to the grocery.

1. Take advantage of your microwave

Many people may be surprised to learn microwaves are useful for more than just heating up ramen noodles or macaroni and cheese. Throw a few eggs into a coffee mug, stir them up and microwave on high for about 90 seconds and you have a great cup of scrambled eggs to start your morning. If you are feeling particularly sophisticated, you can even add some milk and cheese. If eggs are not something you enjoy, you can also make oatmeal. All you need is a package of oats and some water.

2. Step away from the peanut butter

Peanut butter is a great option for protein, but eating peanut butter and jelly everyday can definitely get a little old. Why not try chicken or tuna salad instead? Most, if not all, grocery stores sell a variety of canned chicken and tuna. And while you are shopping for canned foods, stop by the vegetable section to pick up some canned carrots or peas. They are a great way to add some color to your diet. And the best part is canned food can last for years. Buy some corn your freshman year and you can probably still eat it when you are a senior.

3. Find other sources of dairy

Milk may seem like a great source of dairy, but it often expires within a week. Yogurt, on the other hand, has a shelf life of at least three weeks, and it comes in a variety of interesting flavors. Buy Greek yogurt for extra protein and throw in some fruit for a healthy parfait. You can also try other sources of dairy such as cottage cheese or cheese sticks.

4. Make your own snacks

Granola bars or chips are often a go-to snack, but they are not very substantial. Instead, try making your own trail mix. All you need are some nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Just mix them together and you are good to go. If you are the type of person who craves a little sweetness in the middle of the day, you can also add a handful of chocolate chips.

5. Find those healthy campus options

Campus food may seem a bit unhealthy, and if you only eat at Steak ‘n Shake or Panda Express then that is probably true. There are a number of healthy food options on campus such as Fresh Food Company, Subway and the newly opened Freshens Fresh Food Studio. These restaurants are a great way to fit in all five food groups, and they offer a variety of options so you will never get bored. Also, check out the healthy eating posters to find some great food options for under 500 calories.

6. Get your friends involved

Eating is definitely a social event here on campus, so making food in your dorm might make you feel a little isolated. Invite your friends over to make nutritious and shareable recipes like chicken salad, and soon you will all be able to have fun and eat healthy at the same time.

Healthy eating in your dorm may seem like a challenge, and it will definitely require more effort than simply going to the Downing Student Union Food Court. It is worth it, though, and if you put in the time and energy to start your new healthy lifestyle, you will quickly become happier and healthier. And soon, healthy living will not seem difficult at all.

Reporter Emma Collins can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @thebest_dilemma.