No Meal Plan? No Problem: How To Survive On Dorm Cooking.
We hate to just state the obvious, but college is seriously expensive. But beyond just the tuition, you may be surprised when you find out about all the extra fees associated with going to college, and especially with living on campus. And if you didn't plan for a meal plan in your college budget, you may just have to go without. We do recommend shooting for a basic meal plan if you can afford it; however, even with just one meal a day from your on campus cafeteria, you'll still be doing a lot of cooking in your college dorm room. Thankfully, with the right dorm products you can make a mini kitchen setup in your dorm room that can actually make better food than your campus mess hall. Dorm cooking has come a long way from just microwave ramen–check out this list of dorm cooking tips from our dorm experts so you can have delicious, nutritious, and most importantly cheap meals right in your dorm room!
1: Dorm kitchen shelves. The top tip to help you in your dorm cooking adventures is to invest in a few mini fridge shelves to contain all of your dorm kitchen supplies. If you don't have anywhere to store your bowls and plates, or dorm cooking staple ingredients, how are you going to get any meals prepared? Plus, dorm kitchen storage does not have to take up much space at all–go vertical above your mini fridge with our Suprima® Extra Height Mini Shelf Supreme to secure your mini fridge, microwave, and three extra shelves for more dorm storage. Or build out with our Yak About It® Dorm Station, which can be upgraded with a matching Top Shelf for a complete dorm pantry setup.
2: Mini fridge organizers. You may think that with a few extra shelves, you won't need to take advantage of the space around your mini fridge. But college dorm rooms are small, and using every possible inch of space will help you in your mission of cooking great food in your dorm room. Storing non-perishable foods, plates, and flatware on a Mini Fridge Caddy can make dorm cooking easier and give you more space for those college kitchen essentials.
3: Plates and flatware. Of course, a lot of college students opt for paper plates and plastic forks, but these aren't sustainable and may make you feel like you're eating junk food instead of a real, "home" cooked meal. Plus, since you throw these disposable dining essentials away after every use, you'll eventually need to buy more and spend more money in the long run. Our dorm experts recommend choosing a basic set of plates and bowls, plus some simple silverware for dorm rooms, so you won't have to replace these dorm eating essentials regularly. You also don't want to be that guy who keeps "borrowing" forks from the dining hall... just get a few plates and flatware for yourself so you'll know you have what you actually need to enjoy a dinner in your dorm room.
4: Microwave bowls. In a dorm kitchen setup, your dorm microwave will be your main method of cooking food. Some college students opt for a hotpot or hotplate, but some dormitories do not allow these items (check with your university). Regardless, we recommend having a few microwave safe bowls and containers to make your dorm room cooking easier. Our Dueling Cooker is a cool dorm microwave cooking product that allows you to cook two items at once! Cook ramen in one half and steam some veggies in the other; microwave some kitchen nuggets and whip up microwave mac n cheese at the same time; or make a snack tray with pizza rolls on one side and taquitos in the other portion. No matter what you double-up on in the Dueling Cooker, you can really expand your microwave cooking options with this double sided bowl for microwave cooking!
5: Other college kitchen accessories and gadgets. After getting your basics–some dorm kitchen storage shelving, a mini fridge caddy, dorm plates for eating, and a college microwave cooking bow–you're ready to branch out. Coffee drinker? Get a coffee pot for your dorm room instead of spending $5 on coffee every day. Eat a lot of pizza? Get some pizza containers! Smoothies? A dorm blender can be game changing. We aren't a dorm recipes website, but we're sure you can find some ingenious ways to use your microwave and dorm kitchen appliances to make some seriously tasty food that doesn't break the bank. After you get used to cooking in your dorm room, you'll forget all about that meal plan!