Nourished on Campus: The Essential Dorm Room Grocery List

Decorating your new room, meeting new friends, deciding which groups to join... So many things to have to think about when heading off to college! While having access to food is so important, it often gets pushed to the bottom of the priority list once you arrive on campus. If the dining hall is at the other end of the quad and only has set meal times you may not always be able to get there given your location and class schedule. Making sure that you have access to food that provides your body (and your working brain!) with the nourishment that it needs will keep you fueled for success.

4 Steps to Help You Get Organized With Food

Step One

Assess your access to food.

  • What is around you? Convenience stores? Grocery stores?

  • How will you get there? Walking, public transportation, campus shuttle, car?

  • How often will you be able to get there?

Step Two

Assess your ability to store and prepare food.

  • Do you have a mini fridge? Freezer? Microwave? Toaster? Oven? Stove top? Access to a dorm kitchen?

  • Do you have or need cooking gear such as pots, pans, baking sheets, etc?

  • Knowing this information ahead of time will help you to make informed decisions with meal and snack options.

Step Three

Perhaps accessing food is a challenge for you given your course schedule or your campus location. There are other options!

  • Do Amazon Fresh, Peapod, Instacart or other grocery delivery services deliver in your schools’ area?

  • Are there other stores local to your campus that offer delivery service?

  • Order snacks through regular Amazon for quick delivery to campus.

Step Four

What to look for when you’re perusing the aisles (in real time or virtually!):

  • Easy to prepare. Usually dorms only offer you a mini fridge, maybe a microwave or a toaster. Choose shelf stable, non-perishable, portable foods.

  • Need ideas? Keep reading :)



Protein / Granola Bars: Luna, Lara, Kind, NuGo, Clif are some of our favorites. These are shelf stable and super portable. We recommend keeping a box in your room and one in your backpack just in case you get stuck studying longer than expected and need a quick re-fuel.

Nuts: Trail Mix can be purchased in bulk and we highly recommend doing so! The combination of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and (sometimes - we personally prefer:)) chocolate is a great combination of protein, fat and fiber that will keep you feeling satisfied. We recommend filling a few snack size baggies with a handful or two of trail mix and tossing them in your bag for easy, on-the-go, and satisfying snacking.

Pretzels, Popcorn, Chips: pair with hummus or shred a piece of string cheese on top and microwave for a bit of protein to help keep you satisfied longer.

Packets of Oatmeal: These packets are portable and can hang out on your dorm room shelves without worry of spoilage. Add water, microwave and go! Pair with a handful of trail mix and you have a super tasty, energy packed breakfast to start the day off right.

Peanut or Seed Butter: A must have addition to any dorm room pantry! These nut and seed butters are packed with protein and fats to keep you satisfied and help make any food you’re eating taste just a bit better ;)

Hummus: Grab a tub or individual packets of this protein and fat packed quick and easy snack. Enjoy as dip with crackers, pretzels or carrot sticks or grab the chocolate hummus if you’re looking for something sweet!

String Cheese: A great on-the-go snack. Pair with a piece of fruit or shred on some chips or crackers and microwave for makeshift nachos.  

Dried Fruit: Grab a scoop and mix with greek yogurt, cereal, nuts or make a college version of ants on a log by topping a piece of fruit or veggies with nut or seed butter and a sprinkling of craisins or raisins.

Cereal / Granola: Pack in snack baggies to toss into your bag and go! Cereal and granola are a great source of carbohydrates providing your busy brain with the nourishment that it needs to get through the day. Pair with some nuts, yogurt and fruit for a quick and balanced meal.

Salsa: Packed with lycopene (equals healthy heart!), salsa comes in individual packs for easy, on-the-go snacking or to add as a condiment to jazz up that sandwich you’re going to grab from the coffee shop on your way to class. Enjoy with chips, crackers, or on eggs for a satisfying snack or meal full of flavor.

Frozen Edamame: easy to store in your mini freezer and quick to prepare in the microwave, this snack is loaded with protein and fiber. Up the satisfaction factor by serving with a bit of salt, a shake of sriracha or garlic flakes.

Baby Carrots: Another snack you can pre-pack in snack baggies for easy on-the-go fuel. Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and stocked with plenty of fiber to help fill you up. Great paired with hummus.   

Fresh Fruit: Apples, bananas, grapes, oh my! Grab a few of your favorites to have on hand when you need to grab and go on the way out the door. Pair with yogurt, peanut butter, chocolate hummus, a handful of nuts for a balanced snack.

Applesauce, Greek Yogurt, Cottage Cheese: Small enough for your mini fridge and lunch bag, these snacks go great with nuts, granola, fruit, trail mix. Applesauce packs a big punch of vitamin C while Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are loaded with protein and fats. All of which keeping you fueled, healthy and energized through those long college days.

Chocolate: We can’t forget about chocolate! Did you know that chocolate is actually really good for your brain function? Yup! So on those long days of studying, grab a piece of chocolate for a little brain pick-me-up.


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We're a group of non-diet, balance seeking, cupcake consuming, quinoa loving, registered dietitians. 
By sharing our expertise, favorite tools and services, we want to help you heal your relationship with food and body and find your own balance amidst the diet culture chaos.

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