photo credit

If you’re anything like me, you like to eat. A lot. And if you’re exactly like me, you spend way too much money on clothes, shoes, and going out to be constantly restocking that tiny little pink fridge in your dorm room. You’ve probably struggled finding the right things to fill your fridge, fill you up, and keep your wallet filled with cash. It’s taken me three years to perfect the following list: The Seven Items You Need to Keep Stocked. Read on and learn how to keep your tummy – and your wallet- happy!

1. Banquet.


photo courtesy dave's cupboard

Yes, a microwaveable meal. An 88-cent microwaveable meal. An 88-cent, relatively healthy, microwaveable meal! These things are delicious. I could eat them every day if I had to. My personal favorties are the salisbury steak and cheese-smothered patty meals. However, Banquet provides a variety of meals, including family-sized entrees, desserts, breakfasts, and lunch or dinner meals.

Plus, they’re relatively nutritious. You can click here to find out the nutrition information and here for more information, including coupons.

2. Easy Mac


image courtesy saving big with four boys

You probably already devour these on a daily basis, (they’re cheap and easy,) but have you considered the possibilities you have with a container of Easy Mac?? Consider adding the following:

  • Bacon bits. I looove bacon and I looove cheese. Yummy.
  • Add a can of tuna and a can of veggies. Heat it up and you have a delicious tuna casserole!
  • Bread crumbs. I like Italian bread crumbs in it. It gives it a good crunch and just a bit extra flavor.
  • Brown some ground beef and add it in. It’s like Hamburger Helper, but a personal size!
  • Make a mini-chicken casserole: add in (cooked) chicken and veggies (any kind you like.) Mmm.

3. Ramen


photo courtesy zeer

Does anybody not have Ramen in their dorm? My school hands them out for free during Welcome Week. Ramen comes in a variety of flavors, from plain ol’ chicken to spicy lime shrimp. Pick your favourite, heat it up right in the cup (it tells you not to, but it’s safe – trust me), and enjoy!

Like Easy Mac, there are about a million and a half things you can do to Ramen to make it even more delicious. Check out this link for over 35 Ramen recipes!

4. Sandwich Fixings

Bread, jelly, peanut butter, and Nutella can become your best friends. A sandwich is quick, easy, has little clean up, and will leave you filling full. Plus, Nutella on toast is pretty much the best breakfast ever. Fact. Sandwich meat, cheese, and a tomato or two can last you a good week and a half, and pull double-duty as lunch or dinner.

5. Fruit.

Think healthy! Fruit is good and good for you. It fills you up without leaving you feeling lethargic from chomping down on junk food. Try keeping fruit that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, like bananas and apples. (Try those bananas on the Nutella with toast!) Other good options include grapes (freeze them! It gives them a more satisfying crunch. Plus, when they’re frozen, you suck on them longer so it seems like you’re eating more,) peaches, oranges, and berries. Fresh fruit is a great snack to keep your blood sugar up without the miserable sugar crash that comes from scarfing down a chocolate bar.

6. Soups.


photo courtesy drugstoredivas

There’s nothing better on a cold day that a nice, hot bowl of soup. Short on time? Grab one of Campbell’s Soup-at-Hands. You heat it up in the microwave and take it with you! It even comes with a handy-dandy sipping lid, and it comes in your favourite Campbell’s flavours.

Another favourite of mine is Great Value brand of soups at WalMart. They’re just like Campbells, only cheaper. I like the vegetable in beef stock. Heat them in a bowl or eat out of the can – whatever you want!

7. Rice a Roni.


photo courtesy amoeba

I cannot praise Rice a Roni enough. I loooove Rice a Roni. Fried rice, chicken fried rice, whatever – I could eat this stuff all day, every day.

The good thing about rice is that it fills you up fast – you don’t have to eat a whole lot of it. (Meaning you’ll have leftovers in your fridge and your wallet!) Rice a Roni doesn’t take more than a microwave and about twenty minutes to make, but you can cook it on a stove, as well. All you have to add is butter and water!

You can easily take Rice a Roni from a snack or side dish to main entrée in a snap. I like to add fried chicken (fry the chicken before adding it in) and corn to it, but you can add whatever you want. Play around with different things! Add meat, veggies, spices, and create your own signature dish!

One Final Tip: Before buying groceries, make sure to check the Internet and your local newspaper for coupons! You can save a tonne of money by not only buying the generic brands, but also by using coupons – it just takes a little time and effort!

What Do You Think?

What are your easy meal staples? Do you like to go for more complex recipes? Leave us a comment and let us know

Author: Ashlee


  1. Caiti says:

    Tuna, oatmeal, greek yogurt, and eggs! Protein and long lasting :)

  2. ChelC says:

    While not necessarily nutritionally sound, sometimes my wallet can only afford this. I’m working two jobs and am enrolled full time. Nevermind that I don’t have the time to COOK healthy, sound meals; but when I literally have $5.00 to my name for the next week, chances are I’ll be getting ramen as opposed to fruits and veggies that go bad in the same amount of time.

  3. Charlotte says:

    As a 26 year old, I feel qualified to tell you girls this: if you think that the above list is “healthy”, WELCOME TO YOUR FRESHMAN TWENTY.

    @Kate “Not so convenient in the end.”

    Well, neither is a heart-attack, sweetie.

  4. Kate says:

    “Staple” doesn’t mean healthy. It just means things that many people seem to have. As a college student, convenience is really important, and I usually have one or two of the things on this list.

    Also, keep in mind, not all schools have kitchens are convenient for students to use. And if you have things like eggs, you’ll need all the other equipment (and ingredients) to cook. Not so convenient in the end.

  5. Becca says:

    These “staples” are disgusting. They’re not environmentally friendly or heart healthy. When I read the headline, I imagined there would be items like black beans, lentils, frozen fruit, fresh bananas, organic peanut butter, eggs, carrots etc. These are all examples of extremely cheap (a.k.a. even cheaper than a banquet “meal”) and are the tickets to sustainable health and a wholesome diet. I’m a 22 year old college female and this idea of food is really disappointing.

  6. Natalie says:

    Why does being in college mean that you have to eat unhealthy?
    These boxed, premade instant foods are covered with preservatives, unhealthy levels of fat, carbs and sodium (there is a reason besides beer that people gain those freshmen 15). These items should be emergency backups, not staples. Although these are simple, cheap meals, there are other time saving and much healthier options out there.

  7. Tara says:

    I love anything microwavable, but sadly, my residence does not allow microwaves anywhere but in the dining hall or lounges…and all the lounges are in the basement, and I’m on the top floor.


  8. Tiffany says:

    What about Ramen??? Ramen became more coveted than Pop Tarts when I was living in the dorms!!!

  9. Irina says:

    banquet sounds amazing! too bad my freezer is uber tiny to keep anything in there :(

  10. Sari says:

    True story: I cannot make Easy Mac properly. Although I do agree with you that mac and cheese is easy to make gourmet with the inclusion of a few select ingredients.

Leave a Comment