College Food Ideas

College cafeteria food can get really old really quick. You will be eating the same meals for days on end and they may not have been very appetizing to begin with.

Besides eating out all the time, which is pricey and unrealistic, your alternate options are slim. You most likely won’t have a kitchen in your dorm room and a microwave will be the only provided utility. There may be an oven and stove in your dorm common area but it won’t be convenient to go there to cook every night. In college you will have to get creative when it comes to meals.

Here are some fast and easy college food ideas:

Mac and Cheese

This is one of the easiest college meals to make that is also delicious and filling. If you buy the Easy Mac brand you literally just have to add water and stick it in the microwave. It requires little preparation and you don’t even have to dirty a dish because it comes ready to eat in a cup.


Another easy college student recipe is quesadillas. To make quesadillas all you need to have are tortillas and shredded cheese. Put the quesadilla in the microwave to melt the cheese and you are good to go. You could even buy some sour cream, guacamole or salsa to dip it in.


Another easy meal for college students is cereal. You will probably eat a lot of cereal through the duration of college and it won’t just be limited to a breakfast meal. Cereal is very easy to buy, store and prepare. There are also various nutritious cereal options so it won’t be too unhealthy to eat it often.

Cup of Noodles

Cup of noodles, instant soup, Top Ramen—these are all variations of the meal that college students everywhere live off of. It is easy, fast, cheap and delicious. Campbell’s also has microwavable soups that will provide more flavor options than instant soup.

Frozen Food

This is the closest you will get in the dorms to eating real meals. Frozen food provides endless options for meals including macaroni and cheese, steak, mashed potatoes, etc. All you need is a microwave to prepare this.


This is a healthy meal option for college students that is definitely manageable to make in the dorms. Making salad doesn’t require any appliances—all you need is a refrigerator to keep the ingredients in. You can get creative with salads or buy ready packages that come with everything you need.


These are just as simple, nutritious, delicious and cheap to make in the dorms as salads. Some easy sandwich ingredients include deli meats, cheeses, condiments, peanut butter and jelly. You could even invent in a Panini maker and be able to make hot sandwiches in your room.


It will be crucial for you to have snacks in your dorm room at all times. When you don’t want to go out and get a full on meal, snacks will tide you over throughout the day.

Obviously the classic college food ideas like chips, goldfish, candy and the like will be relied on often and there is nothing wrong with that. However, if you were trying to avoid the freshmen fifteen and eat healthy during college it would be best to not even buy these kinds of snacks to avoid the temptation.

There are plenty of healthy and delicious snacks that you should have in your dorm. Fruits and veggies are easy—like carrots and ranch or celery and peanut butter. Studies have shown that almonds are good for your memory, so snacking on them will be beneficial in multiple ways.

As college progresses and you get a kitchen after the first year you will learn different college student recipes through trial and error. For now these college food ideas will be a good starting point.

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Natalie Alexander

Natalie Alexander

Natalie Alexander is a sophomore at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism with a concentration in public relations. In her free time she enjoys traveling, dancing, exploring, swimming, laughing, shopping, napping, writing and spending time with her family and friends.
Natalie Alexander

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