It can be a daunting task to decide which basic home products to purchase for your college student’s dorm room. Because most dorms are fairly small and many students share those rooms with another student, only taking what’s most necessary and saving space is always a top concern.
Here are some fun and durable options for students to help them settle in easily and have necessary items at hand to make food prep a snap. You want your student focusing on their studies rather than stressing over feeding themselves or running out for fast food every day.
Taking your own home-prepared food along for lunch and snack time is a healthier way to eat and will save your student money, too. Here are two options for transporting food that I think are pretty neat.
I personally love the BUILT NY Spicy Relish Lunch Tote. This would be my choice since it has a nice sturdy handle as well as a generous adjustable strap. Many times while I was in college I found myself frustrated by taking a lunch along with me. Paper sacks were difficult to carry along with a backpack, a purse, and other items needed for my classes. And stuffing those soft-sided bags into my backpack often meant I would end up eating crushed sandwiches, pulverized chips or crackers, or that snacks like frozen grapes (my fave) may leak and get my backpack and often many things inside of it wet.
I like that the handle on this lunch tote has a large opening for sliding over your wrist or holding in your hand as well as an adjustable strap if you prefer to carry it over your shoulder or messenger bag style.
The BUILT NY Spicy Relish Lunch Tote is made with a nice thick neoprene material with a very generously-sized interior (including an inside pocket that would be perfect for eating utensils, napkins, or maybe ketchup or mustard packets or other small items. The tote will accommodate larger food containers with ease and they will lay flat in the wide bottom.
The neoprene material (which is waterproof, wetsuits are made from the same material) provides great insulation that will keep cold foods cold and warm foods warm while preventing condensation or spills from leaking through the bag and making a mess. The stitching and zipper feel very sturdy so I’d have no worries about the bag falling apart. This is well-built and will last a long time.
In terms of space, the BUILT NY Spicy Relish Lunch Tote measures approximately 13” long, 7 inches wide, and more than 10” high. It can be stored nearly anywhere in your student’s dorm room – hung on a hook, in a closet or folded flat on a dresser or tucked in a drawer.
If you aren’t interested in a lunch bag or want that extra item to carry but still want to bring a lunch with you to eat healthier and save money there is another great option. This Built NY Gourmet 3 Compartment Bento With Stainless Steel Utensils is perfect for someone who would rather have a lunch container to tuck into their tote or backpack.
I like the slim design, it doesn’t feel bulky when I’m handling it. The Built NY Gourmet 3 Compartment Bento With Stainless Steel Utensils is well-constructed and sturdy with a leak-resistant lid to stand up to the hustle and bustle of daily use. There is a built-in compartment in the lid that holds full-size stainless steel utensils. The fork, knife, and spoon are strong and will handle spearing, scooping and cutting any food without any problems. I like that they don’t feel like mini utensils, aren’t flimsy, and fit into your hand comfortably while using them. I’m very impressed with this Bento box!
My son actually loves the Built NY Gourmet 3 Compartment Bento With Stainless Steel Utensils and has been using it every day. He’s a high school senior who is a 4th year marching band student. He’s also a pretty picky eater and doesn’t like school lunches. I fill the bento up with peanut butter sandwiches, fruit snacks, crackers, apple slices and other foods he likes to eat during lunch and for a snack before marching band practice. He slips it into a large exterior pocket in his book bag and heads out the door to tackle his day. I love knowing that he will have good food that he likes to eat.
Now, for food prep product ideas. I don’t know how much cooking college students do these days. But, many people (young ones included) are trying to eat healthier. This means they are doing more in terms of selecting fresher, organic foods and the best way to do that is to prepare the food yourself.
My husband’s parents gave him a small personal fryer and a french fry cutter when he was in college. His favorite thing to do in the evenings while studying was to cut up a few potatoes in his cutter and fry them up as a snack. French fries were super easy for him to make since potatoes don’t have to be refrigerated.
But, more and more people are looking to work fresh veggies and fruits as well as homemade foods into their daily routine. So, to that end here are a few basic cooking essentials that may make that a little easier.
The first thing you need to prep fresh foods and recipes are kitchen utensils. Right? I mean, you can’t do much if you don’t have a way to measure, mix, or cut ingredients or a way to flip or move hot foods from pan to plate. The Farberware 21 piece Kitchen Tool and Gadget Set is perfect.
The ceramic crock holder (included) will hold all of these tool essentials in one place without taking up too much space. It includes everything needed to prep fresh food and cook delicious meals. Included are basic tools such as: measuring cups and spoons, spatulas, vegetable peeler, whisk, kitchen scissors, tongs, can opener, serving spoon and much more.
As an experienced cook myself, I tried to look at the Farberware 21 piece Kitchen Tool and Gadget Set and think of any other items I use daily in meal prep trying to find something that Farberware left out. But, I couldn’t think of anything. In my opinion, this is the absolute perfect starter set for a young adult who is leaving home to be on their own for the first time.
Well, actually, the one and only thing that the utensil set didn’t include was a knife. There are so many knives available, each with different functions. But, if you’re looking for one single knife to use to safe space, the 8-Inch Sabatier Forged Stainless Steel Chef Knife with EdgeKeeper Self-Sharpening Sheath is a good choice.
See that little red plastic part at the bottom of the knife sheath? That’s where the self-sharpening blade is housed. Every time you put the 8-Inch Sabatier Forged Stainless Steel Chef Knife with EdgeKeeper Self-Sharpening Sheath into it (or pull it out) it gets sharpened. (Note: The little plastic bit on the tip of the knife in this pic is just part of the packaging to prevent cuts while opening the product. That gets thrown away and the knife is then stored in the sheath.)
The high-carbon stainless steel blade is strong and is a joy to use because of course, I had to try it out! (Is it weird that I’m a total sucker for kitchen gadgets and office supplies?)
The 8-Inch Sabatier Forged Stainless Steel Chef Knife with EdgeKeeper Self-Sharpening Sheath can be stored in a drawer, on a shelf, or in a utensil crock like the Farberware one above. It’s dishwasher-safe if your student has access to one, but can be hand washed and dried just as easily.
Here’s a close-up of the sharpening blade end of the knife sheath.
And, finally, once you prep food for a recipe (banana bread or blueberry muffins sound really yummy to me right now!) you need a way to cook or bake them. The Chicago Metallic Professional 4-piece Non-Stick Toaster Oven Set.
A toaster oven is a great appliance for college students, especially the Chicago Metallic Professional 4-piece Non-Stick Toaster Oven Set since they are small and portable enough to have in a dorm room and work great to prepare food to eat. If your student has access to a community kitchen with a regular size oven, that’s great! But, if not, they can still make themselves some nice, hot food right in their own room in a toaster oven.
These are really sturdy pans with a beautiful, shiny finish that are perfect to prepare foods for 1-2 people or for quickly reheating leftovers. The Chicago Metallic Professional 4-piece Non-Stick Toaster Oven Set includes a 9.5 x 6.25-inch baking pan, 9.25 x 6-inch cooling rack, 11 x 7-inch roast/cake pan and a 6 cup muffin pan. The heavy-weight aluminized steel construction makes for sturdy pans that will last and results in foods that are evenly baked.
Any (or all) of these items would make a great Care Box to send to college students or to give them as a Christmas gift. I would probably add a few other things to the package like a small cutting board or one that could be rolled and secured with a rubber band, a couple of kitchen towels and dishcloths, and some dish soap for cleaning their fancy-schmancy new kitchen tools after use. Also, if they have room and it’s in your (or their) budget, a mini-fridge makes keeping foods fresh and drinks cold a snap.
Do you have a new college student trying to settle into dorm life, or even just a child that is going to be moving out on their own soon? What other kitchen essentials would you add to this collection for those young adults moving to independent living situations?
Get your hands on these products for your college student:
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