Mini Fridges, Microwaves, and Maid Service

My obligatory first day of school photo.

My obligatory first day of school photo.

Day 1 of junior year… check! After a long 8-hour day on campus, I am finally back to my hotel. No, that is not a typo; I am living in a hotel. My on-campus apartment building is brand new and isn’t ready for me to move in yet, so in the mean time I’m living in a hotel. It is a strange feeling walking into a hotel all sweaty from the mile walk back and having the bellhop ask you if you need help carrying your backpack to your room (I must have looked like I was struggling!).

I’m enjoying the 24-hour fitness center along with the clean towels and lotion samples that are left in the bathroom everyday. But, with all the nice hotel amenities come the not so good parts. Can you guess my biggest complaint? The food situation! Three weeks in a hotel means three weeks without the kitchen that I should have in my apartment. I feel like I’m back in my freshman dorm with just a mini fridge and a microwave minus the dining hall.

hotel fridge

The hotel mini kitchen.

Of course there are tons of restaurants to choose from, but I’m not a fan of eating at a restaurant for 63 meals in a row. Thankfully, I have friends with kitchens and spent yesterday afternoon cooking a bunch of meals to stock my mini fridge for the week. Aside from that, here are some healthy snacks I have discovered you have with just a fridge and a microwave:

Fresh Fruits Vegetables
Apples, bell pepper, carrots, celery, and oranges all last about a week so they are great to have on hand for a quick snack or to grab when you are on your way to class. Adding peanut butter or hummus to your fruits or veggies can make an even more nutritious snack.

Cooked Vegetables
Zucchini, broccoli, and edamame can all be kept in the fridge and cooked in the microwave. Click the names below to find out how to cook them.
Steamed zucchini
Steamed broccoli

Other Options
If you have access to a kitchen or can get them from the dining hall, hard-boiled eggs are a great snack with lots of protein.
Popcorn is also a good microwavable snack if you choose one with light butter and salt.
Yogurt and Oatmeal are not only good for breakfast, but also as an afternoon snack with some berries or granola. Check out my post about my obsession with oatmeal here.

Stay tuned for more of my hotel adventures and healthy microwave meals!

5 Tips: Adjusting to the College Dining Hall

As the new school year rolls around it is out with mom’s home cooked meals and in with all-you-can-eat dining halls. Going away to college calls for new eating habits, which can definitely add to the stress of moving away from home. With many assignments to be completed, textbook pages to read, and tests to study for, food should not be on your list of things to stress about while away at school.

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I struggled to find healthy and yummy options my first semester of college. After lots of trial and error, I discovered these 5 tips are the best way to take the stress out of eating in a college dining hall.

  1. Ask about allergens or special diets. If you have any allergies or a special diet, make sure you contact the catering company that provides to food to your dining hall. They likely have a dietitian on staff that can help you find foods that are safe for you to eat.
  1. Become friendly with the chefs and other kitchen staff. From my experience, they love talking to students, and if they know who you are, they will be more likely to get you what you want (even if it isn’t on the menu for the day).
  1. Find a “go to” food item the dining hall always has and that you enjoy. My dining hall always has a salad bar and a stir-fry station, so no matter what they are serving I know that there is always something for me to eat.
  1. Fill out the comment cards. Most dining halls will have a place in the dining hall or online where you can leave comments and suggestions. If there is something you liked or didn’t like, tell them. If there is something that you would like that they don’t have, tell them. From my experience, the chefs and dining hall staff take them seriously and will often respond to you.
  1. If you can’t find anything you like, ask! My school has a “just ask” policy; if you don’t see it, find a chef or other staff member that can help you. Lots of times, if you wait a few minutes they will make you what you want, as long as they have it in the kitchen. If the on-site staff is not responsive to your requests, contact a manager or dietitian. They should do their best to get you what you need and feel comfortable with your food options.

If these tips don’t work, try again (and again)! Seriously, don’t be afraid to advocate for what you need. Nobody can live without food so you might as well enjoy what you are eating.