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Dorm Room Microwave Meal Ideas

By Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.

The average college student gains 3 to 10 pounds during the first two years of college, with most of the weight gain occurring in the first trimester of their freshman year, according to Nemours Foundation. Just because you don’t have a kitchen in your dorm room, doesn’t mean you have to eat poorly and risk gaining excess body weight. If you have a microwave and toaster in your dorm room, there are ways to be creative and cook quick, healthy meals without eating out or risking weight gain. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, women ages 19 to 30 usually require about 1,800 to 2,400 calories per day for weight maintenance and men ages 19 to 30 typically require about 2,400 to 3,000 calories per day to maintain their body weight, depending on size and activity levels.

Broth-Based Soups

Broth-based soups are easy meals to prepare in the microwave, easy to store and only take a few minutes to prepare. Try to avoid cream-based soups if you’re watching your weight because they are generally higher in fat and calories compared to broth-based soups. Chicken noodle, vegetable beef, black bean and lentil soups are nutritious, will help fill you up and help you avoid eating too many calories.

Macaroni and Cheese

Although macaroni and cheese is a meal commonly prepared using a stove top, microwavable macaroni and cheese varieties are available frozen or packaged for microwave preparation. All you have to do is add water, stir in the cheese packet and heat it up.

Bean Burritos

Frozen bean burritos made with whole-grain tortillas make healthy, quick and easy-to-prepare microwavable meals when you’re living in a dorm. Read the food label to make sure the brand you buy isn’t high in fat and calories. If the bean burrito contains a white flour tortilla and a lot of extra cheese or high-fat beef, it might not help you avoid the freshman 15.

Veggie Burgers

Although preparing hamburgers usually requires a stove top or grill, most veggie burgers can be prepared using a microwave. Look for veggie burger brands that comes in several different varieties, including black bean burgers, grillers originals, mushroom burgers and meatless chicken patties.

Grilled Cheese

Although grilled cheese is a meal commonly prepared using a stove top, you can prepare grilled cheese in the microwave if you have a toaster in your dorm room as well. First, toast two slices of whole-wheat or whole-grain bread. Next, butter the toast and finally add a reduced-fat cheese to your sandwich and heat in the microwave for 5 to 10 seconds.

Cheese Quesadillas

Cheese quesadillas are quick and easy to prepare in your dorm room microwave. Add reduced-fat cheese, salsa and black or pinto beans to a whole-wheat or whole-grain tortilla. Fold it in half, microwave it, then cut it into triangles.

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