Ermahgersh — I can’t believe I officially start school tomorrow!
After two years of taking pre-reqs in shady parts of LA, I am finally starting my Masters program at USC tomorrow and I am incredibly psyched.
I went to orientation last week and was in a state of awe as I walked around the campus — not just because it’s so picturesque, but because I truly couldn’t believe I’d made it.
I felt like a bit of an imposter — like any second someone would walk up and snap me out of my dream state, informing me that this was all a mistake. But it hasn’t happened yet, and I feel beyond grateful and blessed.
As I cruised the Trojan campus, I reminisced on my days of undergrad at UofA in Tucson. My bunkmate Heather and I used to have so much fun together — going to date dashes, working out at the rec center, and lounging on “the lawn.”
Unlike most incoming college students, I’d already dealt with the “Freshman 15” during my senior year of high school, and was determined to avoid gaining it back. Heather and I would try to make healthy choices at the student union and by making meals in our dorm room, but it wasn’t always easy.
While I won’t be living in the dorms this time around, I have picked up a few tips that can help any college newbies who are finding it hard to eat healthy on campus. The dorm-friendly recipes below can all be made with a toaster, microwave, or blender, and some are completely appliance-free.
This mayo-free melt uses greek yogurt to gain its creamy consistency. Canned tuna is an awesome dorm-room staple since you don’t need a refrigerator to store it. However, I highly encourage you to check out the Hello Kitty Mini Fridge if you’re in the market – so cute!
Instead of using an oven to melt the cheese, pop this baby in a microwave or toaster oven.
This is one of my favorite meals — like ever. Even though I have an oven, I still make this on the reg. The potato is actually “baked” in the microwave FYI, hence the quotation marks.
Mason Jar Tex Mex Quinoa via Fit Foodie Finds
This high-protein, vegetarian recipe is super easy and adorable. A tangy cilantro lime dressing adds a burst of flavor that’s sure to jolt you awake if you’re nodding off during an Algebra assignment.
Cook the quinoa in the microwave using Lee’s easy guide.
Toaster Oven Baked Tofu via Eating Bird Food
Make crunchy, tasty, chicken nugget-like tofu to toss in salads and wraps with Brittany’s easy to follow guide. It’s also super yummy by itself or dipped in ketchup!
The Basic B*tch Salad via immaeatthat
I almost died when I saw this on Kylie’s blog. She hit the nail on the head incorporating all the #stuffgirlslike right down to enjoying this “basic” meal on Bachelor Mondays.
Despite its title though, this salad is anything but basic. It is full of healthy ingredients and dorm-friendly vegetarian protein. Buy pre-made quinoa and tofu or cook it yourself using the guides above from Fit Foodie Finds and Eating Bird Food.
According to Well & Good, cold soups are so hot right now.
Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta via Lexi’s Clean Kitchen
You’ll need a spiralizer for this one, but getting a spiralizer should already be at the top of your to do list because they’re pretty much the most amazing cooking tool since the discovery of fire. You could also make not-as-pretty noodles with a veggie peeler, but whyyyy?
Pick up some pre-cooked chicken from the grocery store and puree the pesto in your magic bullet/blender — or buy pre-made pesto for an even easier prep.
Coconut Cream Peanut Butter Bites via Cotter Crunch
These tasty little morsels are perfect for popping in your backpack to keep you fueled for school. Want more? Lindsay’s got tons of tasty no-bake bites on her blog!
Apple Pie French Toast Oatmeal via The Big Man’s World
Arman is the king of microwavable meals and this oatmeal bowl is right up there with my favorite quick and easy breakfast recipes from this genius.
P.S. — His 3-ingredient microwavable english muffins were my life preserver during a brief gluten-free stint.
And it just wouldn’t be an oven-free roundup without an overnight oats bowl. Overnight oats — aka the process of soaking old-fashioned oats in milk overnight — were my breakfast staple in college. This one is particularly pretty, tasty, and easy!
So you see, eating healthy in the dorms doesn’t have to be that hard.
Side note: If anyone tells you that microwaves are bad for your health, they’re dead wrong. Microwaves are totally safe (as long as you’re not nuking plastic in them), and in many cases they retain more nutrients than other heating methods.
For instance, steaming vegetables in the microwave will prevent a lot of the water-soluble vitamins from leaching out — more so than boiling. I do this by putting veggies in a microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl with a little bit of water, and covering it with a ceramic plate that fits like a lid. Microwave for about 3-5 minutes depending on the food.
I hope these dorm-friendly meal ideas will help ease the stress of healthy eating for you this semester, so you can spend your time worrying about school work instead!
Although — let’s be honest — you’re probably just thinking about all the cute boys 😉
SHOP THE POST: DORM ROOM COOKING ESSENTIALS