Recipes for surviving residence dorm life

Easy, cheap, and nutritious meals for students away from home

Image by: Herbert Wang
Making good meals in residence is easier than you think.

Moving into Queen’s residence is a difficult adjustment for most, and not being able to cook whatever you want can make homesickness hit harder.

Though meal plans are a staple part of the experience and included in residence fees, living in a dorm room can entail situations where accessing—or enjoying—food on campus is challenging.

When hunger strikes outside dining hall hours, or you simply don’t feel like trekking through a snowstorm to eat, there are many easy, cheap, and nutritious meals you can make from the comfort of your shared floor kitchen—if you have one.


While breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, it’s the meal you’re most likely to skip. Early morning classes and the need to leave your room can make eating a nutritious morning meal difficult to prioritize. When TAMS run out and you can’t grab a late morning snack, you’ll need to get creative.

Since residence allows students allows students a mini-fridge, there’s plenty of options for breakfasts. One of my favourite easy meals is a homemade parfait. For me, it involves purchasing a tub of yogurt as well as granola, and diligently searching for berries on sale at Metro.

If you’re looking for a warm breakfast, meal prepping muffin egg bites is a great move. Simply add your preferred ingredients, throw them together in a common room with an oven, and voila! You now have a great meal you can reheat those mornings you’re running too late for breakfast at the dining halls.


Because the dining halls are usually open for lunch, packing a midday meal doesn’t always seem necessary. On the rare occasion you find yourself in your room, here’s how to look beyond ramen and protein bars. These meals lack essential vitamins, and the scurvy epidemic is best left in the 16th century.

If you’re too far from your sketchy dorm microwave, you’ll need a lunch that tastes good cold. For this, I suggest salads. Think beyond vegetables and consider pasta, potato, or chicken salad. These versatile options can easily be customized to meet your specific nutrition requirements.

Since I just badmouthed ramen, I’ll suggest homemade soup as an alternative. It’s comforting, warm, and requires minimal effort to prepare. Combine your preferred protein, veggies, and carbs, and you’ll have a simple meal ready to thaw when the inevitable first year flu strikes.


When making dinner in residence, it’s best to cook with friends. For dinners with nutritional variety, it’s helpful to assign different aspects of the meal to different people. This not only makes cooking more affordable, but reduces the waste of preparing individual meals for one night.

If you’re alone, stir-fry is always a reliable option. Most recipes incorporate a combination of veggies, carbs, and proteins which customizable veggies, carbs, and proteins.

Cooking together is a wonderful bonding activity, especially with new floormates. Plus, you’ll quickly discover who among them has never cleaned a dish in their life.


In first year, I discovered any dessert I wanted could be made in a mug. Whether it was cookies or another sweet treat, I could whip up a single serving in a few minutes.

If you’re looking to make friends, make dessert to share. It’s the best way to earn some brownie points among your floormates.

While you should use the meal plan to get the most out of your residence fees, it’s important to know some basic recipes if you can’t access campus food when you need it. Hopefully, this knowledge will help you navigate first year dining arrangements when campus food is limited.


Cooking, first year, Residence

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