How to Cook on a Budget in Your Dorm


By Caitlyn Stultz |

Most people spend their first eighteen years eating meals cooked by someone older than them, such as their parents or grandparents. College students rely on meal plans but often tire of their limited options a few weeks into the first semester.

Students often have little to no cooking skills when they move into their first dorm, but even students with kitchen experience have trouble finding ways to cook meals while living in dorms.

Limited cooking supplies and budgeting become hurdles for all students to find ways to make their favorite foods in their first few years living away from home. Here are some tips on how to cook on a budget in your dorm

Mug Cooking

A few years back, there seemed to be a significant trend with cooking in the microwave with mugs.

The trend has died down since, but it’s still a great way to make some of your favorite foods without even leaving your room. Foods from cakes, to cookies, to omelets and even pizzas can all be made with a mug and a microwave.

Mug recipes are widely inexpensive, too. For example, many mug cake recipes simply consist of a cake mix, egg, oil, and water. Get your favorite cake mix, the ingredients mentioned above, and a topping of your choice, and you have a fantastic, quick and easy treat.

Ask Around for Cookware

Cookware is expensive. Even cheap cookware can add up quickly. Living in a dorm, you only need the basics, so ask your friends and family if they have extra equipment, such as skillets, pots, and utensils.

What you can’t find for free, buy cheap. After obtaining these basics, you can create many simple dishes.

Form a List of Recipes You Can Make

Learn a few dishes to become a staple for you and keep them on hand for when you need a pick-me-up. Cheap and easy recipes exist all over the internet.

One of my favorite cheap meals is spaghetti. It’s quick, easy, and customized to suit your tastes. Spaghetti can go with chicken, ground beef, turkey, sausage, or any type of vegan substitute.

Another cheap and surprising easy dish is chili. Chili is often made with so many different ingredients and all in just one pot!

Healthy Doesn’t Always Mean inexpensive

Students’ diets often consist of fast food: greasy burgers, fries, and chicken nuggets. They often forget about the nutrients their bodies need. Fruits and vegetables are often more affordable than young adults believe.

One way to cut the costs of these healthy foods is by shopping canned and frozen fruits and vegetables. Corn and peas both taste great canned. Also, many frozen vegetables come ready to be steamed in the microwave.

Lastly, apples and bananas are two fruits that almost everyone loves and are quite affordable.

College is an exciting time, but the food students consume often gets tiring. Finding ways to cook in your dorm is a great way to keep your eating habits interesting, along with keeping away those unwanted extra pounds.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be cooking five-star meals in no time. Be sure to send your family pictures because they will be so proud!

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