Hungry As a Bear: Stocking the Bear Cave

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Hi there Brunonians! My name is Michelle Zabat. I’m your friendly first-year foodie, originally from marvelous Michigan. If you’ve ever wondered what the dining scene is like at Brown University, look no further than Hungry As a Bear. I’m here to share the scoop on all things delicious both at Brown and around Providence. Dig in!

Let’s face it: humans, by nature, like to snack (or at least that’s what I tell myself to justify my snacking habits). In college, when you’re running around between classes, meetings, and events, you don’t always have time to sit down for a full meal in a dining hall. So what’s a Brunonian to do? I’ve found that having a nicely-stocked selection of food in my dorm room is essential on busy days when I need to stash my backpack with goodies I can eat on the go. And since at Brown we’re allowed to have refrigerators and microwaves in our rooms, eating well (and attempting to avoid the infamous Freshman 15) is perfectly possible! So what exactly are the essentials for a functional, fun dorm “kitchen”? See my tips after the jump!

Perishables:

I’m the kind of person who basically lives off of fresh fruits and veggies when I’m back home. At college, you don’t have such easy access to kitchen prep equipment. So what’s the solution? Smart shopping! We’re lucky enough to have two big supermarkets within walking distance (or you can hop on a bus). Brown also has super-convenient farmers’ markets on campus every week. Here are some of my favorite things to keep on hand in the fridge.

1. Fruits: Fruits can be tricky because some of them can require more extensive preparation (example A: I wanted to buy a pomegranate the other day but I have no big kitchen knife to cut into it with). However, don’t fret! You can still get your healthy dose of yummy fruit. Try to find things that don’t need to be peeled, like apples, peaches, pears, etc. Grapes are also a really good option since you can wash them in the bag they come in. Things like strawberries can be a bit trickier (and messier), but they’re nice to have every once in a while! Additionally, places like Jo’s and the Blue Room sell some nice little fruit salads you can save in your fridge for later.

2. Vegetables: Veggies are a little bit easier to deal with, especially since they have a longer shelf life. The big problem with these is that they can require more preparation and/or washing than fruit. Look for ready-to-eat options like baby carrots and celery.

3. Other Perishables: There’s tons of other things you can stock your fridge with! Some of my necessities are almond butter/hummus/ranch to eat with vegetables or crackers. Yogurt is a really good option if you’re the kind of person who likes to eat breakfast really quickly before morning class, and string cheese or applesauce are always delicious choices (I’m a five-year-old at heart sometimes). Milk, Arizona Tea, and orange juice are common occupants of my friends’ fridges. Don’t forget to have some chilled water on hand to stay hydrated, and I also always keep a little bit of dark chocolate in my fridge to avoid any melted messes (a girl’s gotta have her dessert!)

Pantry:

Whether you need lunch on the go, something to snack on while you study, or a solution to the late-night munchies, a good, healthy selection of convenience food is always nice to have. Here are some of my top picks!

1. Bars n’ Things: Let’s be serious. Granola bars are some of the easiest, most delicious things to grab when your stomach is growling. I’ve found this to be especially true in college! There are definitely a lot to choose from at the grocery store, but be smart with your picks and try and choose bars that will be good for your taste buds and good for your body. Kashi and KIND are two of my personal favorite brands, and lots of the on-campus eateries sell Odwalla and Clif Bars that you can stock up on as well.

2. Breakfast Foods: Personally, I head to the dining hall every morning for breakfast (it’s what motivates me to get out of bed), but a lot of my friends like to skip the dining hall in favor of sleeping in. In this case, cereal will be your best friend! Try to pick cereals that don’t have a huge amount of sugar in them to avoid a midmorning crash. I always have Cheerios and loose granola on hand (both are delicious with some yogurt or milk). I also currently have some different flavors of biscotti right now that I’ll pair with a cup of tea when I want a light morning treat.

3. Snacks!!!: Here we have the real category of interest… Snacks in general! Now, this will depend heavily on personal preference. I’ll give you the details on what I have in my “food crate” on top of my fridge right now as an example. It’s filled with apple and kale chips, sweet potato tortilla chips, soy crisps (rice cakes are good too!), pumpkin seeds, PopChips (the Katy Perry kettlecorn kind are the bomb.com), popcorn (bagged or microwave popcorn are both always awesome to have when you have a big group hanging out), Pocky (the matcha flavor are the best!), and trail mix. Like I said, there are a million different possibilities. My best advice is to see what works best with your study, lifestyle, and snacking habits. Trial and error is definitely a big theme of transitioning to college (trust me, I can personally vouch for this).

I hope you guys enjoyed getting a little sneak peek into my snack supply here at Brown! While it may seem unimportant, trust me when I say that staying healthy and happy is key to being a successful student–and good nutrition is an essential part of this. Self care is key! I hope you guys enjoy your week and I’ll talk to you next Saturday with more delicious details!

Michelle

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Just want to chat? Send me an email at michelle_zabat@brown.edu

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