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You’re away from home, maybe for the first time in your life, and the pizza and beer are everywhere. The parties, the freedom, and some nice-looking co-eds can be a huge distraction from doing what you need to do to stay healthy. And if you’re in a dorm room, the struggle is even worse. So what’s a clean eating, dorm room living, college student to do?
First, find out ahead of time what amenities WILL be available in your dorm room. Will you have a fridge? Microwave? Hot plate? What is allowed, and more importantly, what ISN”T allowed. Schools have very strict rules about what you can and can’t have in your dorm room, so be sure you comply with these rules. Clean eating is all fine and good until somebody starts a fire.
For the purpose of this blog post, I will “assume the worst”. I will assume that you have very little storage, a very small fridge, and only a microwave for cooking. I’m going to break this down by meal. I will cover breakfast, lunch and dinner and of course, some snacks. And if you can think of anything else, please share in a comment below! Let’s get started…
DORM ROOM KITCHEN TOOLS
If you are allowed to have these in your room, consider taking the following with you. These can make a big difference in sticking to your clean eating plan while at school:
- Electric Tea Pot
- Microplane (doubles as a cheese grater!)
- Can opener
- Good set of measuring spoons and cups
- Small whisk (small enough to fit in a mug)
- Potato peeler (doubles as a cheese slicer!)
- Medium, fine-meshed sieve
- Small lunch cooler
YOUR DORM ROOM PANTRY
Space is at a premium in a dorm room. But a few small jars of spices will take you a long way in staying on track. If you have no cabinets for this sort of thing, consider a plastic milk crate. You can stack a few of them for vertical storage and even put a board over the top and it will double as a small table.
So here are what I consider to be the essentials:
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
Eggs – It is entirely possible to cook eggs in a microwave. They won’t be the best eggs you’ve ever experienced, but they are fast and can easily include other additions. Shred a carrot or two and toss them in to get your veggies AFTER cooking the eggs. This works with raw zucchini as well. Remember to only buy 1 or 2 carrots and zucchini at a time. We need to keep some room in the fridge! Maybe try a little garlic and onion powder in your eggs. A little flavor goes a long way!
Oats – Oats are perfect for microwave cooking and the directions for doing so are typically right on the package. If you have a thermos, you can even do thermos oatmeal to eat on your way to class. Simply pour in some quick-oats and some boiling hot water before you jump in the shower. You may also want to add a few things like berries or honey. Close up the thermos and your oats will be ready by the time you are ready to go.
Pancakes – Yes, even pancakes are possible when you live in a dorm room. A warm pancake, topped with maple syrup and some fresh fruit will go a long way in helping you to not feel quite so homesick. And the best part is, there is only a mug, a spoon, and a whisk to wash! Check it out here.
Be sure to scout out your school campus. Find out where you can buy things like a chicken salad (bring your own dressing!) or even healthier vegetarian foods. Think produce and lean meats. Some campuses have these in spades, while others are like health food deserts. So check it out ahead of time. You’ll most likely be eating lunch on the run between classes more often than you’d like to admit.
But if you are lucky enough to be back at your dorm room for a mid-day break, here are some ideas you can make quickly and easily:
- Clean Eating Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (Think: black beans and salsa with avocado or fresh, finely chopped broccoli (cooked with the potato) and some parmesan or shredded cheddar sprinkled over the top.) Disclosure: These ideas came from eMeals. (I earn a commission on any subscription you buy through this link. Earnings go towards continuing this blog) Actual recipes coming the first week of September. So check back!
- Quesadillas – Slice or shred some cheese, melt in the microwave, and top with some chopped tomatoes and Greek yogurt.
- Grilled Mozzarella and Sliced Tomato Sandwich
- Garden salad with clean dressing
- A basic chicken sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, and a little mustard on clean bread
Dinner can be tough when all your friends are heading out for pizza or heading to the local bar. In moderation, there’s no reason not to enjoy these things with your friends on occasion (providing you are 21, or course!). Just make sure it’s honestly “on occasion”. Too often and you’ll quickly slide off the clean eating train. But aside from that, there’s no reason not to have a healthy dinner back at your dorm room for a fraction of the cost of buying that huge pizza and beer for you and your friends.
- Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (Recipe coming Sept 5th)
- Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich with Strawberries and Balsamic Vinegar (Recipe coming Sept. 3rd)
- Chicken, brown rice, and veggies.
- Tuscan White Bean Brown Rice Bowl (Recipe coming Sept 7th)
- Organic popcorn
- Carrot sticks
- Celery & peanut butter
- Hard boiled eggs
- Fruits of all kinds
- Nuts of all kinds
Check out my Clean Eating Dorm Room Grocery List here.