The 5 Budget Ingredients Every College Student Should Have in Their Dorm

The 5 Budget Ingredients Every College Student Should Have in Their Dorm

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

College — it's the best of times, it's the worst of times. It's the best of times because you're old enough to do things you dreamed about in high school; young enough not to realize they are bad decisions; and healthy enough to recover with just a greasy cheeseburger, two aspirin, and a Coke the next morning. It's the worst of times because your bathroom is likely a mess, your homework isn't done until the last possible second, and your pantry is likely barren.

The combination of hard classes, wild parties, working, and not wanting or being able to spend a ton of money on food means a lot of college students think ramen and microwave popcorn is all they can have in their cabinets. Newsflash — it's not! Here are five of our favorite staples to have on hand so you shop like a pauper but eat like a prince.

1. Day-Old Bread

Many bakeries offer great deals on day old-bread, pastries, and more. That's just French toast and stuffing waiting to happen. You might need fresh bread for some things, but many things are better and cheaper with the day-old stuff.

2. Eggs

The ultimate meal in its own portable shell. Egg salad, fried eggs, hard-boiled eggs — eggs can be eaten (cold, hot, room temperature) for any meal of the day. Are you convinced yet?

3. Lentils

Lentils are the secret weapon in heavily spiced stews and soups, the backbone of delicious veggie burgers, and the ideal way to fill out a salad so just a touch of warm sausage goes a long way. Lentils are inexpensive, can be bought in bulk, and last a long time in the pantry. Plus, they are just delicious.

4. Iceberg Lettuce

Yes, it's retro, but it deserves a comeback. It's the centerpiece of many a delicious salad, lasts a long time in the fridge (making the dollar stretch even further), and is what many would consider the perfect sandwich lettuce. Plus, did you know you can cook it?

5. Instant Ramen

This cliché should stay in the pantry. Dress it up with a fried egg; spice it with any number of hot sauces; top it with sausage, spinach, scallions, or any number of ingredients languishing in your fridge, freezer, or pantry. It's inexpensive, it's versatile, and it's just so tasty.

Get inspired: 10 Quick Hacks to Upgrade Instant Ramen

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