Dorm Dining 101: Learn to cook up a storm from your dorm

Are you sick of wasting 20 minutes of your lunch break queuing up for food? Do you find yourself repeatedly feeling indecisive about what to eat? Is the freshman 15 lurking in the back of your mind every time you get takeout? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Welcome to Dorm Dining 101, where we will go over the A to Zs of surviving on campusat least food-wise. This series will highlight dishes that are easy to prepare in advance, alongside how-to guides to walk you through delicious budget bytes that will not only give your bank account a rest, but also put those cravings to bed. College is hard enough with courses, roommates and those painstaking 8:30 a.m. classes, don’t make it worse by eating instant ramen for every meal.

Today, we’ll start with the essentials that you will need to begin your dorm room cooking journey. We’ll cover some appliances and cupboard basics that are so versatile you’ll be able to make a number of dishes in no time!


  • Fridge or mini fridge for storing food
  • Blender if you like smoothies on the go
  • Knives and scissors
  • Rice cooker is an asset
  • Kettle (hot water is god)


  • Cereal: not only is this staple a good breakfast, but it also makes a perfect midnight snack!
  • Tortillas: quesadillas, pizza pockets, wraps — the sky is the limit
  • Bread: bagels, sliced — any variant you like
  • Soy sauce and ketchup: these two condiments are key for adding flavour to nutritious meals
  • Canned beans and lentils
  • Frozen vegetables and fruits: healthy smoothies, here we come!
  • Ramen noodles: you know you want it
  • Rice cakes & popcorn: little snacks that’ll keep the hunger at bay
  • Peanut butter/jam: these are some essentials for noodles and bread
  • Salt/pepper/spices
  • Rice or microwave rice pouches
  • Tuna or chicken cans
  • Trail-mix
  • Can’t believe its not butter butter! Or extra virgin olive oil
  • Salsa
  • Chips (tortilla or any variant you like)
  • Some form of chocolate (chocolate chips, chocolate covered almonds, chocolate buttons)

If you have a fridge:

  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Cheese: shredded, cottage, spiced, feta — yours to choose
  • Fresh fruits (bananas, oranges, apples)
  • Eggs
  • Cooked meat or tofu

Miscellaneous useful items:

  • Ziploc bags
  • Foil or parchment paper
  • A large bowl
  • Plates
  • Spoons/forks/knives
  • Spatulas or mixing spoons
  • Wide mugs
  • Microwave safe bowls/meal-prep containers
  • Can openers

Grocery tips:

  • Avoid brand names, the other ones give you more value for your money and taste the same.
  • Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry! You’ll end up buying more than you need.
  • Schedule a time for groceries and make it consistent!
  • Planning is key — start with the list above and edit as needed.
  • Try shopping with your peers who are also in the same boat as you — buying in larger quantities will save you and your shopping buddy some extra money!

Alright, now that you’re locked and loaded with your essentials, you’re ready to begin your dorm dining journey! Stay tuned for the next article on easy budget bytes!