Say the words “dorm cooking” and you’re likely to conjure images of ramen and microwave popcorn. While these have been standard fare for college students year after year, there are many other — healthier — options available these days.
In this article, we introduce you to dorm cooking essentials and give you hacks for amazing meals in your room.
We’ll also introduce you to oatmeal on a mission and let you in on how you can be a part of our unique community effort to supply servings of our hot cereal to food banks in your area.
Dorm Cooking Essentials
The staple appliance for dorm cooking. You can do a lot with a small microwave and a bit of creativity.
2) Single-Serving Blender
A single-serving blender (like the Magic Bullet) is the perfect addition to your dorm cooking essentials. It opens up a whole world of possibilities, including foods such as smoothies, soups, and sauces.
3) Instant Pot
A small Instant Pot is the new must-have for dorm cooking in the 21st century.
Not only can you cook a wide variety of foods in the Instant Pot, but you can also cook them faster thanks to the pressure feature that’s built right in.
4) Bowls And Utensils
A good set of pressure- and heat-safe bowls are essential for dorm cooking in the microwave and Instant Pot.
You’ll also need at least one knife, fork, and spoon to eat with.
5) Small Refrigerator
A small refrigerator isn’t just for keeping drinks cold. It can also keep leftovers fresh longer so you don’t have to prep another meal so soon.
Dorm Cooking Hacks
1) Keep Nutritious, Easy-To-Prepare Ingredients On Hand
Between class, studying, and extracurriculars, there’s not a lot of time to squeeze in a healthy meal.
But if you keep nutritious and easy-to-prepare ingredients on hand, it will be much easier to keep your body fueled up and ready to go.
Oatmeal, for example, is the perfect addition to your dorm cooking pantry. It’s super easy to prepare, and you can use it in a wide variety of quick and easy recipes.
Here’s a set-it-and-forget-it recipe you can use to make breakfast (or any other meal) while you’re getting ready for class in the morning.
Instant Pot Oatmeal
You’ll need a trivet (usually comes with the Instant Pot) and a heat- and pressure-safe bowl for this (stainless steel is the perfect choice), but after that, you should be golden.
- ½ cup of rolled oats
- ½ cup of non-dairy milk
- ¼ cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of flaxseed (optional)
- 1 cup of water (for under the trivet in the Instant Pot)
- Insert the trivet into the Instant Pot
- Pour 1 cup of cold water directly inside the inner pot of your three or six-quart Instant Pot (1.5 cups of cold water for an eight-quart Instant Pot)
- In the stainless steel bowl, mix the oats, water, milk, and flaxseed
- Place the bowl on top of the trivet and put the lid on the Instant Pot
- Set the valve to "Sealed" and set manual time to three minutes on high pressure
- After the three minutes, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release for 10 minutes before using a wooden spoon to release any additional steam out of the pot
- Caution! Stainless steel bowl and oatmeal will be hot
- With oven mitts or a towel, remove the bowl carefully from the pressure cooker
- Allow to cool
- Serve Instant Pot oatmeal with your favorite toppings
2) Rely On No-Bake Options
No-bake meals and snacks are the perfect way to ensure that you have something to fuel your body when you have to get up early to get to class.
Here’s one of our favorite no-bake treats you can make in your dorm without a lot of appliances.
Blueberry Muffin No-Bake Oatmeal Balls
- 1 cup of dry oats (we recommend rolled oats)
- ¼ cup of nut butter (we like almond, but any nut butter will do)
- ¼ cup of honey
- ½ cup of dried blueberries
- Dash of salt
- ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla (optional)
- Measure all the ingredients into a medium mixing bowl
- Stir to combine well (the batter will be a bit sticky when ready)
- Place bowl in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes
- With a spoon, scoop out about a tablespoon of the no-bake oatmeal ball mixture
- With your hand, roll mixture into a ball
- Place on a plate or in a storage container
- Repeat with remaining mix for a total of about 14 blueberry muffin no-bake oatmeal balls
- Store the balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or place in the freezer (if you have one) to store for a few weeks
3) Prep Ahead For Early Mornings
Eating on the go is par for the course when it comes to dorm cooking and college life.
Be ready for the grab-and-go lifestyle by whipping up a batch of overnight oatmeal before you hit the sack, and never go hungry in the a.m. again.
Easy Overnight Oatmeal
- Rolled oats
- Milk, water, or broth
- Seeds (optional)
- Yogurt (optional)
- Vanilla extract (optional)
- Sweetener (optional)
- Toppings of your choice (e.g., shredded coconut, mini chocolate chips, strawberry jam, nut butter, fresh fruit)
- Add 1 cup of rolled oats to the container of your choice (a Mason jar with lid is perfect)
- Add 1 cup of liquid
- Add ⅛ cup of seeds of your choice (we like hemp, chia, and flax)
- Add 1 tablespoon of your favorite yogurt
- Add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract (add more or less to taste)
- Mix oats and liquid (and any other ingredients) until you don’t see any clumps
- Seal or cover with a lid
- Place in the refrigerator for at least two hours
- In the morning, add your favorite toppings
4) Go With Smoothies For The Win
We know you don’t always have time for a healthy breakfast in the morning. That’s why this mocha-lover’s smoothie is the solution to all your “what-to-eat?” problems.
- ¾ cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- ½ cup of rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 spoonful of almond butter (or other nut butter of your choice)
- 1 teaspoon of instant coffee
- 1 scoop of chocolate or vanilla protein powder (optional)
- The night before, add all the ingredients to a mason jar
- Stir well to make sure everything is combined
- Cover (preferably with a lid, but any type of covering will do)
- Place in refrigerator overnight (or for at least four hours)
- In the morning, transfer contents to blender
- Mix on high until completely smooth
- Add more liquid if the smoothie is too thick
- Pour smoothie into a glass and enjoy!
This mocha-lover’s smoothie is a delicious twist on overnight oatmeal and is a great way to have your coffee and eat it too.
Healthy Dorm Cooking Made Easy
Dorm cooking is often pigeonholed as ramen noodles and microwave pizza rolls. While these are certainly occasional options, you wouldn’t want to live off them day after day.
Instead, opt for healthy fare like the recipes in this article.
If you want to pack even more nutrition into your dorm room meal, substitute hot cereal in the mix. The Soulfull Project hot cereal, for example, offers a wide variety of whole grains for maximum nutrition, including:
Mixing hot cereal into your dorm cooking is an easy way to add more vitamins and minerals to your diet.
If you want something with a bit more crunch (and you don’t have time to DIY), try The Soulfull Project Crispy Granola, which comes in three delicious flavors: Toasted Coconut, Maple Pecan, and Dark Chocolate Cherry.
And if you’re looking for more gluten-free, nut-free snacks to keep your energy levels high, check out our Don’t Go Nuts’ soy spreads and chewy granola bars.
Plus, remember that for every serving you purchase, The Soulfull Project will provide a serving of our hot cereal to a regional food bank in your area.
For more information on the serving-for-serving program and to check out all our delicious hot cereal flavors, visit TheSoulfullProject.com today.