The Clog’s guide to grocery shopping: Freshman edition

Illustration of person shopping for groceries.
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While we all try to take precautions to stay safe from the nightmare that is COVID-19, one of the most at-risk populations on campus is the people living in dorms. Despite the precautions that have been taken, it’s difficult to avoid people when you swarm to the dining halls for a meal. To swerve swarms of people at dining halls, enter the world of grocery shopping. With just a few essentials from the store, you can make a filling, delicious and nutritious meal in your microwave. Here’s the Clog’s guide to groceries, freshman edition.

Microwave meals

The freezer section, unsurprisingly, is full of incredible deals. Trader Joe’s in particular has an excellent variety of good-quality frozen meals, from value packs of pasta to dumplings. You can find an excellent range of popular meals from across the globe in the freezer section. Best of all, you’ll never be bored with the meals you eat, and you won’t empty your wallet. Be mindful of the ingredients in your frozen food purchases! Make sure that you are not consuming too much soy or salt, as those can be very apparent in frozen foods. Use your best judgment when purchasing healthy frozen food.


While snacks can ruin your appetite, they’re an excellent way to stave off hunger between meals if eaten in a controlled manner. There’s really no hard-and-fast rule here, except to try to grab some healthier snacks in addition to the staple chips or crackers. Here are some excellent study snacks that the Clog recommends.

The pantry

While we went over what the typical college-friendly pantry should look like, it’s more difficult when you don’t have access to a kitchen. The art of making meals in a microwave is difficult if you’re not relying on ready-made frozen dishes. However, there are a few staples that can easily enrich your meals. Using stock, rice, frozen ingredients and a few of your favorite condiments can make for a variety of dishes. Experiment with cooking times and flavor combinations, and have fun!

Things to avoid purchasing

If you have only a microwave at hand, there are a few things that aren’t worth buying. Meals that are oil-based, such as fried rice or stir-fry, can’t be made correctly in the microwave because it’s difficult to obtain the correct texture. It’s also more difficult to cook ingredients such as onion and garlic in the microwave because it’s hard to extract their flavor.

Dorm food can get boring and unappetizing, but your microwave is there when you want to mix things up. Happy eating!

Contact Chandini Dialani at [email protected].