7 ways to cook for yourself

Mary-Catherine Dolan

For those college students used to home-cooked meals, leaving home might mean having to fend for yourself in the kitchen. It’s a little difficult to recreate Mom’s home-cooked ravioli or Dad’s perfectly-grilled steak in your dorm room. The inability to often make a good meal leaves college students faced with making poor eating choices. Never eating a full meal and snacking all day won’t help you–neither will relying on Ramen noodles or Easy Mac. Instead of using your entire meal plan in the first two months of school, here are some options that will get you out of the cafeteria for every meal and give you some ownership of your diet.

1. Oatmeal

This meal can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s filled with tons of protein that will keep you feeling fuller longer. Most oatmeal now comes in packets and flavors such as apple cinnamon or maple brown sugar.

2. Frozen veggies

A lot of the frozen veggies in stores now steams in the microwave. Steaming vegetables in the microwave is a healthy, quick way to keep you full without loading up on calories.

3. Bagel sandwiches

Keeping bagels on hand in your room will allow you to use them for several meals. Put cream cheese or jelly on them in the morning and tomatoes and cream cheese on them in the afternoon or evening.

4. Soup

Especially on a cold day or when you are feeling sick, soup is a great, easy option. There are many options for soup at the grocery store that come in snack or meal portions. They’re all microwave safe in the containers they come in. For a healthier option, select the lower sodium soup.

5. Pasta with sauce

Pasta with sauce provides the right amount of carbs and protein you need in your daily diet. Using tomato sauce is your healthiest option. Many pasta entrees now can be put in the microwave if you don’t have a stove in your dorm room or apartment. For a healthier option, choose whole wheat pasta.

6. Pudding or yogurt with granola

This might not be sufficient enough for a meal, but it makes a great snack. Granola has a lot of protein that will fill you up. Pudding could serve as your convenient and portion-controlled dessert.

7. Baked potatoes

Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you have to skip out on essential starches. Buy potatoes, wash one, pierce it with a fork, wrap it in paper towel or aluminum foil, and put it in the microwave until tender. You can also try Idahoan Instant Mashed Potatoes.