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Dorm Survival Snacks - Ideas?

I want to make a "dorm survival food kit" for a male college student who is a vegetarian. He can't cook in his dorm room so food has to be limited to things that can be made with a "hot pot" or need no prep at all. Have candy, nuts, instant cocoa mix and plan to make cookies and a quick bread. Any ideas?

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  1. Just to start you off, I tried this bread last week and already made 3 loaves; one I shipped to my son in college and I was told it didn't last a day between him and his roommate:

    Most of the loaf gets eaten here within the first day, but any part of the loaf that strayed into the next day remained just as fresh as the first day; it's nice knowing that by the time the recipient gets it it's still very soft and moist. I added the cocoa and decreased the cinnamon by one half teaspoon and that's the way I kept making it. Imho this is a lot nicer than some of the deadly snacks some of them bring back to their dorms. I told my son next time don't tell me, I don't wanna know.

    With that same package I also sent some pears since I know those are good to ship, and nuts are a great idea too, I was glad when my son took the initiative and got some of his own before my package got there. I've also been sending homemade cookies and brownies. There's also a date and nut bar that I've made several times recommended here by another hound. I haven't sent him a batch of these yet but here's the recipe:

    Also sent a few bottles of smart water since he's active and he loves it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lilgi

      I'm taking requests from friends and roommate and was given a heads up to make this weekend: 2 loaves of the cinnamon swirl bread, brownies (they put them in the dorm freezer), chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies, chocolate caramel pecan turtles, and he wants me to make the fruit-nut bar. I have no requests for anything healthy except for the nuts and fruit/nut bar. It seems they only want baked homemade goods as most of them are on a meal plan and they can often bring cereal and/or fresh fruit back to the dorm. Just thought I'd give you some feedback on what others tastes are since I know my son doesn't eat anything from the lists below, but it helps to know what he (or 'they' as it is in my case) might like or enjoy after they've settled into a routine since you'll be relying mostly on preference.

      eta: I'd forgotten about chocolate covered cornflake mounds but not sure how well they travel. I'll try adding in next package to see. Merely combine melted semi-sweet or milk chocolate in a bowl with cornflakes and place mounds onto waxed paper for a few hours until chocolate is completely set. These 'cookies' (what they're sometimes called) stay crunchy and disappear in my home. Jacques Torres has a short video making these using a deep dark chocolate.

      1. re: PaulF

        I'm adding a couple next time even though I know he gets them there.

      2. I know these are store-bought (you didn't specify home made or not) so apologies if this is not what you were looking for)
        http://www.tofurky.com/tofurkyproduct... - quick, portable, nonperishable
        http://anniechun.elsstore.com/ - just add water to the rice and noodle bowls

        1. My son likes cereal and Nugo protein bars.

          1. Fruit (apples, pears), peanut butter, crackers, just add water rice pilaf/couscous type mixes, easy mac. A hard cheese. Also, maybe include a small cutting board, pairing knife and can opener - maybe even silverware and bowl and plate. I always thought I had those things, but they go missing with roommates and shared lounge space.

            2 Replies
            1. re: corneygirl

              Puppy Chow! 1-15.6oz box Chex(any kind), 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup chocolate chips, 1/4 c. butter, 2 cup powdedred sugar; Melt chips, peanut butter and butter. Mix with Chex in large bowl until they are covered. Put sugar in large plastic bag and add Chex into bag and shake until covered.

              1. re: Rheta

                I love regular puppy chow (aka muddy buddies), but I like to sub almonds for the Chex. It's a great snack, and since you have to eat it slower than regular puppy chow, slightly easier to resist gorging yourself. I imagine it would ship a little better, and vegetarians always appreciate extra protein.

            2. Crackers and rice cakes were my go to snacks when I was living in the dorms a few years ago. They make a great base for adding toppings like cold cuts or cheese.

              1. Beverages, crackers, do they make soy jerkey????, soy protien powder, plastic cups and spoons, do they make tang anymore?, cornnuts, granola bars, homemade cookies, pretzels, chips and salsa, instant coffee or cappacino would be nice, muffins? quarters for laundry machines

                1. NutsOnline lets you create a 5lb bag of custom trail mix with up to ten ingredients. They have everything from nuts and seeds to dried fruit, candy and chocolates. The customization is limitless as they have hundreds of ingredients. This is always a hit in that it allows you to strictly tailor your bag for the person on the receiving end.

                  Great website, great products and even better customer service. I order Turkish pistachios, sunflower seeds and trail mix from them routinely.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: CDouglas

                    ooooohhh that sounds really yummy!

                    1. re: CDouglas

                      Definitely 2nd the nutsonline. I have ordered from them so many times and have not been disappointed at all.

                      1. re: CDouglas

                        +3. one of my favorite sources for bulk ingredients.

                      2. No microwave? Maybe send a jar of good olives, it will be a nice change of pace from all of the junk food college dorms have.

                        1 Reply
                        1. Wow - thanks all for the great ideas. As I read I thought; now why didn't I think of that.

                          1. maybe some fun condiments to help jazz up bland cafeteria or takeout food. i got through my freshman year of college with some great spices to put on takeout pizza, but maybe he might appreciate some interesting hot sauce or a jar of nice sea salt to improve his regular meals.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: PotatoPuff

                              That's an awesome idea. Send him some nice oils and things to make vinaigrettes and sauces.

                            2. A few more ideas:
                              Homemade granola.
                              Maybe add some custom flavorings to your nuts (e.g. make a sweet glaze for some, a spicy coating for some, etc.)
                              Homemade crackers (graham, chocolate graham, cheese, sesame, etc.) are awesome. Store-bought options can work too- my favorite (savory) option is Ak-Mak crackers.
                              Fruit leather/dried fruit (or trail mix, as suggested)
                              Wasabi peas.
                              Roasted chickpeas.
                              Maybe some instant miso soup packets + shelf-stable tofu to cut up into it?
                              Sweet mini muffins are nice, but also consider savory muffins, like corn muffins with cheese and jalapenos.
                              A nice jar of peanut butter (can eat with fruit, spread on crackers, etc.).
                              Corneygirl has an idea I second- just sending a few durable but inexpensive pieces like a mug, plate, silverware, paring knife (with a cover), flexible cutting board, etc. goes a long way....

                              Good luck!

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: 4Snisl

                                I'm sure there are plenty of shelf-stable brands out there but MoriNu is one I am familiar with. It's not a good as fresh, but it might help ad variety to the monotony of the cafeteria.


                                1. re: 4Snisl

                                  good list... i was going ot suggest homemade granola and homemade granola BARS as well. also agree roasted chickpeas.

                                  1. re: 4Snisl

                                    Yes, to the roasted peas/garbanzo/soy. Nibbles that provide some protein that isn't a protein bar.

                                  2. I see that someone has already suggested it, but I second the vote for homemade granola. I have a (divorced) brother who does not eat well, (last time I was there his fridge contained beer, mustard, and three sprouting potatoes)...but he will snack on the granola all day, so at least I know he is getting some fiber, some protein, some fruit...send your son a nice jar with a lid and keep him supplied with granola. I love the Alton Brown recipe...(sans coconut...we don't like the texture)...I use a BIG variety of nuts and usually an inexpensive fruit like raisins, dried cranberries, or chopped dates. You can make big batches and freeze it in ziploc bags...and it wouldn't be too heavy to mail to him.

                                    1. to add, since it's pumpkin season... a few varieties of toasted pumpkin seeds... salt, onion/salt, vanilla sugar and cinnamon, cocoa powder and cayenne, etc.

                                      some instant steel cut oats and some good maple syrup

                                      homemade fruit leather

                                      maybe some "instant" grains like couscous, with a nice vinegarette to go with... too elaborate?

                                      ...i'm sure he will appreciate WHATEVER you send!

                                      1. I teach at a college, and now is the time when students start to get a little homesick. He'll really appreciate anything homemade, especially if it's something you know he can't get in the dining halls that he might especially miss.

                                        Does he have a microwave in his room? If so, maybe some canned/boxed soups would be good, especially as the weather gets worse and he may not feel like trekking to the dining hall. For what it's worth, I don't recommend those Annie Chun noodle bowls someone else mentioned--I bought a few to try, and they were all salt bombs filled with gummy noodles. Maybe send him a mug of some sort that he could use in the microwave.

                                        Protein bars make a good on-the-go breakfast, and since they're a little expensive, he might not buy them on his own. Maybe a jar of peanut butter and some apples, pretzels, and/or crackers? Dried fruit or vegetable chips could also be a healthy snack.

                                        Another good thing at this time of year might be a bottle of vitamins. This is the time in the semester when students start to get stressed and might not be getting enough sleep, both of which can lower their resistance.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: writergeek313

                                          Vitamins! That's a great idea, will definitely keep this in mind.

                                            1. re: MIss G

                                              Yes and a few days after reading this thread I asked my son about a mug. He was so glad I asked! Forgot about it till now, excellent suggestion. Ty writergeek!

                                        2. Food? In a dormitory room? Why?

                                          Back in my time (admittedly a long time ago) You paid your money and got a room and three meals a day from the campus people. Don't they do that anymore?

                                          We wouldn't think of having a mini-kitchen and our own food supply unless we were trying to gain weight and/or throw money away.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Sharuf

                                            Depending on the meal plan. Some take 10 meals a week, some more, some less.Hours can be restricted on weekends, not convenient to coincide with work hours sometimes.

                                            1. re: Sharuf

                                              My son started out with three meals a day in his dining hall, but he regularly slept through breakfast. (!) He was going 18 hours, from 6PM to Noon, with no food and wondering why he felt funny. Now, for the same cost, he has two meals a day, plus credit he can use at various cafes around the campus, as well as at a market. I sent him back after Thanksgiving break with lots of (fairly healthy) snacks for when he's too busy to eat regular food. He's been losing weight. These students are incredibly busy and not always the best at time management.

                                              1. re: Glencora

                                                ha, reminds me of when i was a freshman in college... mom was upset i didn't want 19 meals a week (3/day M-F, brunch and dinner Sat-Sun). i never ate breakfast, and certainly wasn't getting up early to get my run in and get to class AND stop at the dining hall for some mediocre crap.
                                                the next two years i lived in row houses where we had private chefs and stocked pantries... granted the pantries were stocked with Costco junk food, but i made friends with the chefs and get them to order me extra produce and stock in the back of the fridge for me. i used to go to the market as well, but since i was paying for house food and not eating out of the junk food budget, i figured i was getting my (mom's) money's worth in board via vegetables.

                                            2. A gift certificate for his local grocery store where he can buy exactly what he wants, and fresh stuff for a day or two.