Top Ten College Dorm Foods (Plus Some Healthy Alternatives)

If you live in a dorm, you know that there is nothing quite as satisfying as that 2 am bowl of mac n’ cheese. If you get sick and don’t feel like venturing out to the dining hall, heating up a bowl of soup can do wonders to help you get back on your feet. 

Having the right foods stocked up is an important part of dorm life survival. 

Here’s a list of the top ten college dorm foods, plus some healthy alternatives, that will keep you going strong through those long days of hard studies and late parties.

Top 10 College Dorm Foods

1. Mac n’ Cheese – This is the classic standby that no respectable dorm room should ever be without. There are some great options for instant macaroni and cheese. These range from the standard Kraft classic to the all-natural brands.

For a healthy alternative, or if you want to save money, you can make your own. Just keep on hand a package of macaroni, a pack of pre-shredded cheese and some milk.

2. Instant Soups – This includes Ramen! The options are endless for individual servings of instant soups. You can find vegetarian options, imported ‘ethnic’ type foods, hearty stews and classics like cream of potato, clam chowder or chicken noodle. 

Some of these come dehydrated and you just add water. Others are ready to heat up and serve. Healthy options abound! 

3. Tortillas – Tortillas are great. With a quick trip to the microwave and a few extra ingredients, you can turn a tortilla into any number of amazing meals or snacks. 

Want a pizza? Add some sauce and cheese! Want a quesadilla? Add cheese and salsa! What about a Pb&J? That should be obvious. A great healthy way to use a tortilla? Make a turkey wrap! 

“Tortillas take up less space than bread and you can make so many more interesting things with them. Corn tortillas are better for you than the flour ones.” – says Estelle Leotard, a writer for SupremeDissertations.

4. Cereal – Here I’m grouping together things like boxed cereal and instant oatmeal. If you keep a small carton of milk in your mini-fridge you can enjoy an easy meal or snack in an instant. 

“If Fruit Loops aren’t your thing, and you want a healthy option, try stocking up on your favorite granola. Pair it with yogurt instead of milk or even some vegan milks. Yogurt keeps longer in the fridge, anyways.” — Diana Adjadj, a Master’s student and writer at Studicus and GrabMyEssay.

5. Protein Bars – Some protein bars are as good as a Snickers. Others are more… healthy. Buy a box of these at the beginning of the semester and keep one in your backpack for a quick snack between classes. These are awesome for holding you over until you can finally get to the dining hall.

6. Fruit Snacks – These tasty little gummies are another great addition to the backpack for a quick snack. They give you that boost of energy and help quell that sweet tooth. For a healthy alternative, try dried fruit or fruit leather.

7. Crackers or Pretzels – It’s worth keeping a box of crackers or bag of pretzels on hand in the dorm room. With a little bit of peanut butter or cheese, you practically have a meal. 

8. Peanut Butter – Considering that I’ve already mentioned peanut butter in two of the options above, it deserves its own spot on the list. Peanut butter is amazing and is one of the best college dorm foods around. You can put it on tortillas, crackers, add it to cereal or eat it by the spoonful. 

If you don’t like peanuts, try a different nut butter – there are a lot of healthy alternatives out there.

9. Hot Drinks – For some people, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as coffee for a quick pick-me-up. For others, a cup of hot chocolate in the evening is the best. Herbal teas are always a healthy alternative if want to limit your caffeine or your sugar intake. 

There is something out there for every taste. On a cool fall or winter morning or evening, hot drinks are the best.

10. Cold Drinks – Lots of folks like to get back to the dorm on a hot day and pull a nice cold soda out of the fridge. The fizzy sweetness is so refreshing! 

“I think the best alternative to sugary drinks are the countless options of sparkling juice or tea drinks on the market. Keep your mini-fridge stocked up to always have your favorite refresher on hand.” — Marie Fincher, a health blogger at Trust My Paper and Best Essay Education.


One thing you might have noticed about this list of the top ten college dorm foods is that you need some basic equipment to enjoy them. Make sure to coordinate with your roommate so there is at least one mini-fridge, a microwave, and an electric teapot in your room. And if you have space – a toaster oven. Those tortilla pizzas will turn out so much tastier!

Eating enough (or eating healthy) while you are away at college won’t be a problem if you stock your dorm room with the right foods and the right equipment. With proper planning, you’ll never find yourself desperately running to the dining hall for that next meal.

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1 Response

  1. Kevin says:

    Thank you for the great article. This information helped me a lot in my work. I hope you will continue in the same spirit. All the best and good luck!

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