When it comes to dorm room dining, the options are somewhat limited. While I was still living in a dorm room, all of my food was within an arm’s reach of my bed. Truth is, sometimes we’re too lazy or don’t have enough time to get to the dining hall for a snack or meal so it is easier to have some essentials stocked up. The following are 6 healthy alternatives to the dorm room food pyramid.
1. Ramen A pairing that will stand the test of time is Ramen noodles and college students. They’re cheap and easy to make but far from healthy. One container of this noodle dish has about 300 calories and over 1400 mg of sodium—which will leave you bloated!
Try Choice Ramen by Nissin with 140 calories and 480 mg sodium per serving.
- About.com has a great way to make Ramen a bit healthier!
2. Mac & Cheese It’s time to ditch the mac and cheese and opt for something healthier. Microwave mac and cheese is carbs-and-cheese overload in a microwavable cup at 220 calories, 470 mg sodium, and 39 g carbohydrates.
- Eat whole wheat pasta, which has 174 calories and 4 mg sodium per cup.
3. Chips Whenever I would buy chips and salsa, the bag and jar were empty by the end of the day. An addicting snack that is not the smartest choice since it will be gone not long after purchasing. 13 traditional yellow corn tortilla chips will cost you 140 calories and 120 mg sodium.
- Instead, try organic blue corn tortilla chips, like Garden of Eatin’ Blue Chips, with 140 calories and 10 mg of sodium for 16 chips.
4. Bagels If you are anything like me, morning classes can be a drag. Grabbing a bagel from a coffee chain’s drive-thru might seem like the only option, but at 320 calories without cream cheese (an additional 190(!) calories) you might want to reconsider.
- Pick up a box of protein meal replacement or breakfast bars, like Special K Meal Bars, from the grocery store at 180 satisfying calories per bar.
5. Peanut Butter Peanut butter is very common in dorm rooms because you can eat it with so many things. Whether you are snacking with pretzels or making a sandwich in between classes, peanut butter is a great source of protein and will keep you energized. Unfortunately all peanut butter comes with lots of calories and fat.
- You can replace traditional peanut butter at 95 calories per tablespoon with natural organic peanut butter for the same amount of calories but made from natural ingredients with no added oils, salts or sugars.
6. Beverage Soda is the worst beverage you can pick. A 12 oz can of cola has 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar.
- The best thing you can drink is water for 0 calories, 0 sugar, 0 everything! Since not every dorm’s mini fridge has enough room for a Brita pitcher, filtered water bottles have become popular. Fill up your bottle right from the sink and the water is filtered before you drink it.
The dreaded “freshman 15″ can be hard to avoid so it is important to eat right and exercise often in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle on campus. There are a number of books available from your library or bookstore that give you tips for all kinds of healthy activities and choices. In 2009, the Dorm Room Diet written by Daphne Oz hit the shelves. It’s a 10-step program she created to avoid being unhealthy at college and I definitely recommend it!
This post was updated on November 5, 2013 to reflect the discontinuation of Choice Ramen by Nissan.