How to Eat Clean in a College Dorm

clean dorm food

Here’s the food I have in my dorm room!

Like I’ve said many times before, eating clean can be very challenging. Even at home with a full kitchen, a stove, a refrigerator, a kitchen sink, a dishwasher, a microwave, pots and pans, countless dishes, a toaster, a slow-cooker, a tea kettle, a toaster oven, a coffee pot, a blender, a food processor, a freezer, and a fully-fully stocked pantry, eating clean can be hard. So, as one can assume, eating in a college dorm room is 1000 times harder since students are lucky to have even a few of these items listed previously.

I’m a senior in college this year, and I think I’ve finally figured out how to eat clean in my college dorm room. I have a full meal plan, but since I prefer to eat 6 or 7 small meals a day, I usually eat very small meals in the cafeteria. This leaves me hungry every couple hours, so snacking is a must! This post won’t focus on how to choose clean foods in the cafeteria, but rather how to eat clean in your dorm room.

Here’s what I have in my dorm room that I find useful:

  • Mini-fridge
  • Microwave
  • 2-cup food processor
  • Microwave popcorn cooker
  • Measuring cups/spoons (only 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/8 cup, 1 Tbs.)
  • Manual can opener
  • Silverware (3 spoons, 3 knives, 3 forks)
  • Microwave safe plates and bowls
  • Cups
  • Coffee mug
  • Mini cutting board
  • Chip clips
  • Water bottle
  • Travel coffee mug
  • Citrus peeler

You don’t need all of these things. You could get away with just a few basics, but I wanted to let all of you know what I have. We’re not allowed to have toasters, slow cookers, or any other type of heating device. We don’t have a kitchen sink (but we do have a bathroom) or access to an oven/stove.

Some important things to keep in mind when buying clean food for your dorm:

  • Not all processed food is bad (even though most of it is), so read all the labels to see what foods have only clean ingredients.
  • Don’t buy any perishable food in bulk unless you’re positive you can eat it all before it goes bad.
  • Unless you’re wealthy, don’t buy food that is expensive (stick to a college budget!).
  • Buy food that is non-perishable or that lasts a long time before it goes bad.
  • Try to incorporate all food groups in your snacks.
  • Foods that are easy to take along are always good!
  • When buying produce, choose fruits and veggies that don’t go rotten too quickly.
  • If you have a meal plan, take fruit from the cafeteria and bring it back to your dorm for later.

Here are some quick, easy snack foods that I have in my room:

  • Unsweetened almond milk (I probably won’t buy more for a while because I can’t drink it all before it goes bad)
  • Plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • Celery
  • Radishes
  • Oats
  • Flaxseed
  • Raisins
  • Popcorn kernels (NOT microwave popcorn bags!)
  • Triscuits
  • Salsa (no weird ingredients or sugar!)
  • Rice cakes (lightly salted)
  • All natural peanut butter
  • Frozen berries
  • Canned green beans
  • Canned black beans
  • Decaf black tea
  • All natural protein powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios
  • LaCroix flavored waters (no artificial sweeteners)

Here are some other clean snack foods you can try:

  • Pretzels (NO enriched flour, only unbleached whole wheat flour)
  • Carrots (canned or fresh)
  • Almonds
  • Edamame
  • Peaches
  • Canned peas
  • Canned spinach
  • Canned garbanzo beans
  • Hummus (clean ingredients only)
  • Guacamole (clean ingredients only)
  • Canned tuna (in water)
  • Dates
  • Canned fruit ( in 100% fruit juice)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • All natural nut butters
  • Oranges

Hopefully these tips help you when trying to eat clean in your dorm room this semester! I’m back at school as of yesterday, so I’ll be posting tons of dorm-friendly recipes in the future!

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12 thoughts on “How to Eat Clean in a College Dorm

      • It definitely is. I got very depressed and overweight in college. My grades started falling. I think it would have made a big difference if I treated my body better, especially drinking. It just wasn’t worth it! Keep it up and you’ll be glad in the long run

  1. Firstly, love your blogs name! Secondly, so jealous you still have a year of college! I graduated in May and it feels so weird not to be going back. This is such a great post with awesome tips and ideas… I wish I knew this back in the day. I only started eating clean/losing weight in my junior year (when I lived off campus) so this is awesome! Good luck at school

  2. If you can’t finish a whole carton of almond milk before it goes bad, buy shelf-stable almond milk in individual containers. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated until after it is opened.

  3. I will be posting about this subject tomorrow! I love your tips and I have some great ones of my own! Feel free to tune in tomorrow! rothseri.com

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