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Easy dorm-friendly meal ideas

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NOVEMBER 01, 2023

In the few months that I’ve been at UC Berkeley, I’ve realized the value of knowing how to make a good meal in a dorm room. The variety of dining halls and eateries on campus are great, but for those moments when you’re in a time crunch, the dining halls are closed or you’re just looking to switch things up, knowing what to make and how to make them comes in handy. If you can relate, I’ve got you covered! Here are four easy meals that you can make with just a mini-fridge and microwave.

Loaded hummus pita

For a hearty lunch or dinner, making a hummus wrap is my go-to dorm meal whenever I’m too lazy to walk to the dining halls. All you need is pita bread, hummus and an assortment of add-ins of your choice — I usually opt for cucumbers, tomatoes and feta cheese, but you can add whatever your heart desires. Just spread the hummus over the surface of your pita, add your toppings and roll it up! When I run out of my add-ins, I usually just snack on the pita bread and hummus. 

Mac in a mug

Mac and cheese is definitely one of my comfort foods and discovering I could make it in my dorm room with just two ingredients felt like I stumbled on gold. Legitimately, all you need is elbow macaroni noodles and a cheese of your choice (I love making it with parmesan and cheddar cheese). Put your noodles in a microwavable-safe mug and add water until it completely covers the noodles. Microwave for six minutes on high, pausing at the two and four minute mark to stir and add more water if necessary; the pasta should be al dente. Then, just add cheese and microwave for another 30-60 seconds until it’s completely melted. Stir and enjoy!

Avocado toast

Back home, I used to eat avocado toast every morning before school — it’s so simple, nutritious and easy to make. Needless to say, I’m always making this meal in my dorm room. All you need is your favorite brand of bread (I love the Dave’s Killer Bread brand), some ripe avocados and salt. And while this version is delicious, I love to experiment with new variations by adding pesto, radishes, balsamic glaze or cherry tomatoes on top for an extra kick of flavor. 

Cinnamon apple and banana oatmeal

While oatmeal is usually everyone’s favorite breakfast, I love making it as a dessert when my sweet tooth hits after dinner. All you need is an instant oatmeal packet, an apple, a banana and some cinnamon for garnish. Prepare your oatmeal according to the directions, then mix in your fruit and cinnamon! If you are making it for breakfast, you can always add your favorite granola or greek yogurt for some extra nutritional value. 

I hope these recipes give you some ideas for easy meals you can make with minimal kitchen appliances and accessible ingredients; in dorm life, creativity is definitely key. While these recipes are simple, they can be endlessly adapted to suit your unique preferences and whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand!

Contact Isabella Shin at 


NOVEMBER 01, 2023