I was the world’s pickiest eater when I was an undergrad. A combination of delightful sensory sensitivities, unhealthy eating habits, and shitty dining hall food meant that I was a frequent customer of the local market stocking my tiny shelves with chips, Easy Mac, and cereal.
With any luck, that won’t be you. Hopefully, this guide can help you satisfy your stomach from within two feet of your XL twin bed.
One of my professors is always reminding us to bring baggies and Tupperware to catered events. This is my first piece of advice. Anytime you are going somewhere with free food, bring containers with you. Always take advantage of leftovers. Channel your inner Broad City’s Ilana.
Utilize the PSU Food Pantry, open Monday–Friday 12:30-2:30 p.m. in SMSU 047A. They have plenty of food and ingredients that can be stored in a mini fridge or on small shelves. Come early to get in line, or come late to skip the line altogether.
At your local grocery store, buy pre-made salad mixes and salad dressing to store in a mini-fridge (you can stack the croutons, dried cranberries, and candied walnuts on top). Look for food items that have been pre-sliced or don’t need cutting, like bread, deli meat, olives, and tinned tuna. So many companies are now making single-serving microwavable options. Give yourself some variety from the Easy Mac.
Look up easy mug recipes online that only require a few ingredients. Tasty and Buzzfeed have great suggestions to get you started.
Believe it or not, eggs can be cooked in a microwave.
Crack one egg into a microwave-safe bowl, add a splash of milk or water and scramble with a fork. Cook for 30 seconds on high. Pull out of microwave and scramble. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Continue until the eggs are cooked.
Add spinach, ham, shredded cheese, and any number of veggies and accouterments to make yourself a filling breakfast (whatever time of day you may be eating it).
Upgrade your ramen
Got a pack of ramen? Me too! Add veggies, crunchy noodles, even an egg. Go extra fancy and buy yourself a small Thai basil plant to keep in your window. Spruce up your room with a plant and add a little greenery to your diet.
I am a firm believer in nachos as dinner. Chips, cheese, black beans. Pop it in the microwave until the cheese melts. Add some salsa, sour cream, pre-sliced jalapenos, and avocado.
Sweet potatoes only need 4–10 minutes to cook in a microwave (Check softness of the potato with a fork). Stuff with veggies, cheese, whatever you find yourself craving.
Change up the microwave popcorn by adding nutritional yeast, chia seeds, parmesan, or chocolate chips. Variety is the key to surviving the dorm room years.
Treat yo self
Don’t forget to treat yourself. Splurge on Ben & Jerry’s. Buy microwavable cake mixes. Turn your oatmeal into a dessert by adding chocolate chips, peanut butter, Nutella.
Never forget the lesson everyone must learn: Sriracha covers a multitude of sins. And don’t forget to wash your dishes and clean the sink up after yourself.