My Dorm Pantry Essentials

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Jersey is expecting a foot of snow tonight into tomorrow, and I am praying that it’s true! I definitely need to catch up on my sleep, as well as my posts! I’ve been busy with typical college stuff, and with midterms coming up soon I don’t know when I’ll be able to post next.

This post is a little different from my previous ones- it’s not a recipe post but instead some suggestions for food products to include in your dorm. Again, these are simply my personal suggestions that I have found to help me maintain a balanced and healthy diet while at school. Enjoy!

My dorm pantry essentials, not in any particular order

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1- I always have a few bags of plain frozen veggies in my freezer. They’re inexpensive, easy to prepare, and they taste fresh too! Frozen veggies are such an easy way to add something healthy to your meal. If I don’t feel like going to the dining hall, I’ll cook a bag of veggies with noodles. I love all types of veggies, and most supermarkets have a good variety. Make sure to buy them in a steam bag so all you have to do is pop them in the microwave!

2- Udon noodles are one of my favorite types of noodles, so when I found out that they made them in instant “ramen” style, I had to try them! I highly recommend the Nong Shim brand already in a bowl, which can be found at an Asian Supermarket or Costco, which is where I bought mine. It tastes exactly like homemade udon! When I compared the nutrition labels of ramen and udon, I found that udon was actually lower in calories and carbs and higher in fiber. Technically, a bowl has two servings but I always eat the whole thing… whoops. I recommend adding your own seasoning because the seasonings that come with the bowl are extremely high in sodium. If you do use the provided seasonings, less than half the pack is more than enough. Again, you can combine the frozen vegetables to make this a nutritious meal.

3-Rice cakes are a great light snack or breakfast on the run. I like my rice cakes topped with Nutella and bananas or pumpkin spread.

4-I use honey in tea, to sweeten plain yogurt, or eat with bananas. Honey is my natural liquid sweetener of choice but agave works too.

5- No pantry would be complete without Siriracha, and I’m not just saying that because I’m Asian! I love this hot sauce because it tastes good on so many things.I put it on noodles, cooked vegetables, salad, chicken, dumplings, tuna, and hot dogs. Can be found at an Asian Supermarket.

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6-Oatmeal is an extremely healthy superfood, great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack. The best part is that it keeps you full for a long time so you won’t get hungry in class. I use oats to make hot oatmeal, overnight oats, and pancakes in the microwave.

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7-I am not a big coffee drinker, so when I need a caffeine boost I drink lots of caffeinated tea. I have at least five different flavors of tea in my pantry because I like having variety. My favorites are english breakfast, ginger, and vanilla chai.

8-Another option for caffeine/ alternative to an energy drink- caffeinated coconut water. It’s flavored to taste like a latte, and it actually tastes really good! It doesn’t have to be refrigerated unless it’s opened, and it’s a great natural alternative to energy drinks like Monster and Red Bull. You can find it at Walmart.

9/12- Seasonings are probably the most important parts of your pantry because they can be used to add flavor to tasteless food. I add cinnamon to oatmeal, and salt and pepper can be used for almost anything.

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10-I always have plain Chobani greek yogurt in my fridge. I use it for so many things-Β in smoothies or oatmeal, freeze it with bananas for ice cream, and of course eat it by itself. Definitely my favorite ingredient.

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11- Pecan pumpkin spread from Williams-Sonoma is delicious! I put it in oatmeal or on rice cakes. Unfortunately, it is a seasonal product so I make sure to stock up. Having a spreadable option other than Nutella and peanut butter gives me options and provides more variety.

13- I like having big bags of dried fruit for snacks or to add to oatmeal or yogurt. My favorites are apricots, mango, ginger and craisins. You can buy small bags at Trader Joes and large bags at wholesale food stores like Costco and BJ’s.

14- Cheerios are a great healthy snack or breakfast. Mix them with dried fruit and nuts for a healthy trail mix or add to yogurt for texture.

15-I always try to keep some type of fresh fruit available in my room. Usually, I’ll swipe a banana or apple from the dining hall for a healthy snack later on. I also use bananas for ice cream.

16- I have milk with cereal and I put it in overnight oats or smoothies.

17-Peanut butter is top on my list of pantry essentials. I get Trader Joe’s peanut butter because it’s all natural- just peanuts and salt. Other peanut butters like Skippy and Jiff have tons of sugar and junk in them that cancel out the healthy benefits of the peanut butter.

18- I love all Kashi products, especially their granola bars! I find that many health food companies that make supposedly healthy granola bars actually add a lot of sugar and processed ingredients. Kashi bars are all natural and not sugary sweet. I’m not sacrificing convenience for health, so they’re perfect for when I need a snack in class or a quick breakfast.

I hope this helped you out, let me know if you have any suggestions! As always, share with a friend!

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Healthy French Onion Dip

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Happy Monday! It is snowing like crazy so I have another snow day today- woot woot!

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After walking to the gym this morning I looked like the abominable snow man πŸ˜›

This year, the Super Bowl was hosted by the wonderful Garden State. #SuperJersey! There’s something funny about Super Bowl Sunday- even if you don’t watch football at all, you’ll take time out to watch the big game. Maybe it’s for the commercials, opportunity to spend time with friends, or the half time show. Or because you actually like watching football (yeah, right). For me, it’s the food!!!

Although I love to eat healthy, the truth is that I love eating any food in general. That includes junk food! And we all know that Super Bowl Sunday is notorious for junk food. Didn’t you know that Super Bowl is actually short for Super Bowl-full-of-junk-food Sunday?

Fortunately, Super Bowl food does not have to be unhealthy. The best part about cooking is that you decide what goes into your food! There are many ways to get the taste that you want without putting your health at risk.

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I love love love french onion dip with potato chips- absolutely one of my guilty pleasures. I consider it a junk food/ Super Bowl staple. If you make french onion dip with sour cream and mix, it’s really unhealthy! So here is an alternate version with yogurt- I meant to post this way before Super Bowl but of course you can make this any time! It’s so healthy that I made it for breakfast, and I swear that it tastes just like the real thing!

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Healthy French Onion Dip

Serves 2-3 people

One container of plain Chobani greek yogurt

Two teaspoons olive oil

About half of a small red onion, diced

Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate overnight in a covered container for extra thickness. Serve with whole wheat crackers, rice crackers, veggies like carrot sticks, sliced peppers, or celery, or potato chips.

If you enjoyed this recipe, share with a friend!

Healthy “Ice Cream” Sandwiches

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I’ve been so busy the last few days and now I’m just dead tired! Β Unfortunately for some reason I can’t sleep, but on the bright side, I can brainstorm more recipe and food ideas. Here’s what I came up with- healthy “ice cream” sandwiches! Even with the cold weather I still love cold desserts. Any time is the right time for ice cream!

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I went on a five mile run the other day and ate a few of these for my post run snack. They are high in protein, potassium and energy. A perfect dessert for breakfast!

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I did try making one with a rice cake. It didn’t come out quite right because the rice cake gets soggy in the freezer.

 

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Healthy “Ice Cream” Sandwiches, peanut butter flavor

Makes 8 sandwiches

Two bananas, sliced into rounds 1/4 inch thick

One container of vanilla greek yogurt, I prefer Chobani

Two tbsp unsalted creamy Trader Joe’s peanut butter

4 full size graham crackers, break into squares

Optional- chopped peanuts, for edges

Combine yogurt and peanut butter. You can mix the two in the yogurt cup. Spread a generous amount on one side of a graham cracker square. Top with four banana slices. Spread a little more of the yogurt-peanut butter mix on another graham cracker and place on top of banana slices to form a sandwich. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients. Put chopped peanuts on a flat dish and roll sides of the sandwiches in the nuts, coating the sides evenly. If you have whole peanuts you can use a blender to chop them.

I recommend freezing all sandwiches in one layer instead of piling them on top of each other. Freeze overnight, and enjoy!

Variations:

Use Nutella Fruit Dip yogurt mix or mix in any of your other favorite spreads- strawberry jam, apple butter, etc.

Use sprinkles, chocolate pieces, or crumbled oreos for the sides.

If you enjoyed this recipe or have any comments or suggestions, let me know below! πŸ™‚