Sometimes the all-you-care-to-eat dining options in the commons turn into all-you-can’t-stand-to-eat-again. It’s nice to be able to choose your own healthy snacks for those all-nighters and procrastination marathons, but it can be hard to keep them fresh in the dorms.
Martin Bucknavage, a senior food safety extension associate at Penn State, says that the first step in food freshness is the proper storage.
“Make sure the refrigerator is cold,” Bucknavage says. “And be careful about opening and closing the door too much.”
It also helps to keep food in the main body of fridge instead of the fridge’s door because the door is warmer than the rest of the fridge and can lose its chill to the surrounding environment faster. Bucknavage also says that keeping the fridge clean is important to help ward off pesky mold.
So what fruits and veggies can you keep in the dorms when you get sick of nacho night? Bucknavage says to focus on more rigid vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery and cucumbers.
Good fruits that stay fresher longer are apples, oranges and grapes. But stay away from softer fruits such as berries and cut melon, if you want fruits that have some staying power.
“Softer fruits won’t last as long,” Bucknavage says. “They rot a lot faster. And once rotting starts, it can spread pretty quickly to whatever else you keep in the same area of the fridge.”
Yogurt is another healthy cure for the dorm munchies. We already know it can be a good source of calcium, protein and vitamins. The better news? It’s easy to freeze and thaw for a late-night snack.
The best piece of advice Bucknavage has for students is to be realistic about what and how much they buy.
“You have to buy what you’re going to eat in a week,” Bucknavage says. “It may mean a lot more trips to the grocery store, but it’ll be a lot less money and a lot less waste later.”
Photo by Jessica Korch