The start of the fall semester is right around the corner, and there are incoming college freshmen all around the country who are both excited for what it’ll bring and unaware of the many lessons they’ll have to learn as they strike out on their own for the first time. Let me share at least a bit of my knowledge with you by helping you learn how to stock a dorm fridge, because unless your dorm is some sort of luxury situation that didn’t exist when I was in college, you’re going to be working with a mini fridge. And fitting everything you need to stay full and nourished into a mini fridge is no small task! What we have here are the best foods to stock a mini fridge with, i.e. groceries that are delicious, nutritious, affordable, versatile and, most importantly, don’t take up a lot of space. Here’s what to pick up at the grocery store when you’re stocking your dorm fridge for the very first time.
- Sprouts Market Corner Low-Moisture Part-Skim String Cheese
I’m a huge proponent of midnight cheese (for the uninitiated, midnight cheese is one you can dig into right out of the fridge like a little gremlin in the middle of the night). The best midnight cheese is string cheese, which also happens to be one of the best foods for a mini fridge in your college dorm, because it’s packed full of protein, easy to grab, and comes individually wrapped, so you can cram those little sticks wherever they’ll fit in your tiny-ass fridge. Sporked senior writer Jordan Myrick especially loved Sprouts Market Corner string cheese, which strikes “the perfect balance of waxy and pliable,” and tastes full fat even though it’s part skim. Tip: If these disappear more quickly than you’re eating them, check your roomie’s trash can for wrappers.
Read the full ranking of the best string cheese.
- Chobani Flip S’more S’mores
I recently learned (via Rhett & Link) that microwave s’mores makers exist, but you should probably hold off on buying gadgets until you graduate and land the first low-paying job you hate. Stock your dorm fridge with Chobani Flip S’more Smores yogurt cups instead. This tasty Greek yogurt is relatively nutritious and it doubles as a dessert, so it’s worth a bit of that precious space in your itty-bitty fridge. This covert dessert is among the best foods for a mini fridge because it packs so much flavor into a small package: sweet vanilla yogurt, plus graham cracker, milk chocolate, and toasted sugar bits as mix-ins. Space conscious and delicious.
Read the full ranking of the best Greek yogurt flavors
- Three Little Pigs Uncured Bacon & Swiss
One of the few things a college dorm will allow you to have is a microwave (sorry, no hot plates!), so stock your dorm fridge with these microwavable egg bites if you were spoiled as a teen and can’t imagine eating anything besides bacon and eggs in the a.m. These little suckers cook up better than some things you could make on a stovetop, and they heat up in about 30 seconds, so you can have a satisfying breakfast and still make it to that 8 a.m. lab you’ll regret taking by the second week of school! Managing editor Gwynedd Stuart described these egg bites as silky, delicious, and “absolutely flawless.” Plus, these puck-shaped protein pellets come individually wrapped, so you can ditch the box and they won’t take up a lot of space.
Read the full ranking of the best egg bites
- Good & Gather Pear & Hibiscus Caffeinated Sparkling Water
Caffeinated beverages are my nemesis, but I will admit there’s a place for them—and a college dorm fridge is certainly that place. I once wrote four full-length papers in a single evening and I had a lot of caffeine to do it, so I know what I’m talking about here. Realistically, you could pick anything off Sporked‘s list of the best caffeinated sparkling waters, but this one just tastes the best. It’s fragrant, light, and bubbly, perfect for a moderate binge to get you through a late-night cram session. Caffeinated sparkling water isn’t the best accompaniment for midnight cheese, but you should have these in your college dorm fridge all the same.
Read the full ranking of the best caffeinated sparkling water
- Whole Foods 365 Roasted Garlic Hummus
College is a gateway to the real world and people in the real world have hummus in their fridge. I can’t explain it; it’s just a known fact. You’re a grownup now, so you best have some hummus in your college fridge if you want to survive. We recommend Whole Foods 365 Roasted Garlic Hummus. As you’ll learn as you go through life, hummus frequently has garlic in it, but not all hummus has roasted garlic, and that’s what makes this particular hummus taste so good. Parents everywhere, if you want your kids to stay away from others and study away, one of the best foods for a mini fridge is this garlicky goodness.
Read the full ranking of the best hummus