Acing the College Dorm Life (An Intern’s Perspective)

Posted on August 24th, 2017
While you are away for the next few years (maybe you are just moving down the street to ORU, TCC, or even TU) it is our goal to equip you with the ideas and resources necessary to choose wholesome, nutritious food items to power you through your college career.
We understand that with a dorm or a shared apartment comes limited space, including that kitchen. Honestly, it most likely doesn’t qualify as a kitchen at all. Let’s imagine that you have a mini fridge, a couple of shelves, and a microwave. Bring on the challenge!It is essential to have good-for-you snacking options and nutritious, but simple meals on hand at all times.Here are some items the Registered Dietitians here at Reasor's would have in their mini fridge:

Dairy: 3 servings a day

  • Non-Fat/Low-Fat Milk (pint sized)- Milk can be enjoyed at meal time or snack time or with most college students favorite: cereal. Cereal is a college favorite since it can be prepped with minimal effort, provides consistent taste, and is a good fuel to start the day. Look for a whole grain cereal with limited added sugars and trying adding fruit and protein for a well balanced breakfast.
  • Yogurt (look for those with “live and active cultures”– these are especially good for gut health). Greek Yogurt is one of our dietitian’s favorites because of it’s rich protein content.
  • String Cheese - for that on-the-go snack!

Protein: try a serving at each meal time and at least a half serving at snack time

  • Cottage Cheese - make it savory with avocado and grape tomatoes or make it sweet by topping it with fruit canned in 100% juice!
  • Eggs- “Perfect” Microwave Scramble Eggs recipe listed below. Purchase half dozen due to limited storage.
  • Turkey or Ham Luncheon Meat - the possibilities are endless. Try rolling deli meat up with cheese for a snack, throwing it on a sandwich for a meal, or pairing it with those eggs from the above bullet.
  • Tuna- canned in water - the StarKist pouches are a portable option for snack and meal time. Pair it with whole grain crackers and a fruit or vegetable and you are ready!
  • Nuts and Nut Butters - Your Reasor’s RDs are huge fans of nuts and their butter counterparts, unless of course you have a nut allergy (in that case try SunButter for size if you aren’t allergic to sunflower seeds). Nuts provide energy, protein, and heart healthy fats. We aren’t biased on the type but try to keep the portion sizes in check.

Vegetables: Include vegetables or fruits for every snack and try to make half of your plate vegetables and fruits at meal time.

Grab and go selections are best! If you haven’t seen it yet, Reasor’s has a pre-cut fruit and vegetable section ready for you to pick up any time in our produce departments. Some of these items may require prep- do it ahead of time. Choose a variety of different colored vegetables and fruits.
  • Baby carrots - great for munching on with dip during those late night study sessions
  • Bell Peppers (purchase them sliced, or chop them in advance) - try them with hummus!
  • Broccoli - great for munching on with dip during those late night study sessions
  • Cucumber - top with Laughing Cow cheese for a refreshing snack
  • Spinach - perfect for salads, smoothies, and sauteing
  • Celery - top with peanut butter for a healthy snack option
  • Sweet Potatoes and Baking Potatoes - look for the microwave friendly options at Reasor’s. (Microwave recipe below)
Frozen and canned vegetables count too! Just look for canned without any added salt or low in sodium and frozen without added sauce.

Fruit: Include vegetables or fruits for every snack and try to make half of your plate vegetables and fruits at meal time.

  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries) - using as a topping for greek yogurt or in a smoothie
  • Oranges - great for on-the-go snacking
  • Lemon/limes - spruce up your water with citrus!
  • Grapes - try them frozen for a sweet treat when it’s warm!
  • Apples - pair them with peanut butter or cheese for the perfect snack.
  • Peaches - keep these out until they are ripe, then place them in the fridge
  • Bananas - the world’s favorite grab and go fruit—throw some peanut butter on it!
  • Avocados - top on toast, mix into cottage cheese, or use a sandwich spread. The options are endless when it comes to avocado.
  • Dried fruits - these options are portable and have a long shelf life. Shoot for a dried fruit without added sugars.
Frozen and canned count too! Look for canned in light syrup, 100% juice, and no added sugars and frozen unsweetened.

Grains: Aim for half your grains to be whole grains. Look for the whole grain stamp, 100% Whole Wheat, and words like whole oats, whole wheat, whole barley, or brown rice as the first ingredient.

Whole Grain Stamp - a quick and easy way to identify a whole grain option!

  • Rice cakes
  • Oatmeal (overnight oats recipe below)
  • Granola
  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Cereal- Let’s go for one that is low in sugar and high in fiber (4+ grams)
  • Brown rice (try minute rice in individual containers)

Snacking/Meal Ideas:

Carrots + Hummus

Peanut Butter + Banana or Celery

Cottage Cheese + Berries

Rice Cakes + Nut Butter + Banana

Handful of Nuts + Dried Fruits

Turkey sandwich (Bread + Spinach + Turkey + whatever else you like)

String cheese + Apple

Yogurt + Berries + Granola

Recipes:

Egg Scramble:

Spray a microwave safe bowl or mug with cooking spray. Whisk your eggs/egg whites into the bowl. Add some fresh herbs or salt and pepper if you insist. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes. Top with salsa or avocado, or both, and wrap it in a whole-wheat tortilla for a special treat.
Overnight Oats
  • ½ cup of rolled oats
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
  • ½ cup fresh blue berries (or any fruit of your choice)
  • Nut butter (optional)
Mix all of the items together in jar or container. Put a lid on it. Store the oatmeal in the fridge overnight. In the morning, you may want to add a splash of milk or a tablespoon of yogurt if the oatmeal is too dry.

Fiesta Sweet Potato

To make the sweet potatoes: Poke holes in the sweet potato. Place on a microwave safe plate and microwave on high for 5-8 minutes, rotating halfway. To make the salsa: Combine black beans, corn, and tomatoes. Add a squeeze of lime, vinegar, olive oil, and cilantro to taste. Stuff the sweet potatoes with the salsa. Top with feta cheese. Enjoy!

About the Bloggers:

  • Emily is a Dietetic Intern at the University of Oklahoma and a Louisiana Native. In her free time, she enjoys practicing yoga, exploring unique cuisines, and spending time with her beloved dog.
  • Heather Steele, RD/LD is a Reasor's Registered Dietitian and is a board eligible Certified Specialist in Pediatrics. In her free time she enjoys cycling and cooking. Heather offices out of the Reasor’s off 71st & Lynn Lane and also covers the 101st & Elm location for all of your food & nutrition needs! 

Information included does not constitute medical advice and should only be used as a general recommendation for a healthy diet. Reasor’s Registered Dietitian's opinions and recommendations are of their own; they are not paid to endorse any products.