One President’s Day weekend in 2016, I was stuck in my dorm room for 60 hours and could not leave due to snow. I have a chronic pain condition that leaves me bedridden due to the cold, and I couldn’t leave my dorm to go get food. I survived on peanut butter and jelly crackers, along with water, and had never been so excited to see the dining hall once the storm passed. After that, I started taking food from the dining hall the night before a snow storm or hurricane, enough to last me for at least two days. Here are ten of the foods I take from the dining hall to prepare for an emergency. I use reusable containers and carry them in my backpack, and store the contents in my mini fridge. Read more about how to prepare for extreme weather on campus here.
I take about 6 ounces of plain yogurt (I don’t like sweets much) and add some strawberry or blueberry preserves, as well as cinnamon, into a small container. I might separately pack some granola or pumpkin seeds too. This is stored towards the top of my backpack.
Our dining hall has a made to order sandwich area, so I’ll create a sandwich (usually turkey) and add vegetables that keep well- lettuce, onions, and similar. I do not recommend taking tomatoes or other toppings that can create a lot of moisture. I take separate condiment packets and put them in a large container.
I love chicken wraps, and find that these hold up very well to storage in my fridge. My favorite wrap involves lots of fresh vegetables and either honey mustard or MSG free ranch dressing. I also like the premade wraps that the dining hall offers, which are often vegan. This goes into a larger container towards the bottom of my backpack.
I’ll take a medium sized container and fill it with lots of fresh vegetables, and have dressing in a separate container, or use salad dressing I keep in my fridge.
Pizza is great! I put two slices in a medium container and frequently eat them cold, though I sometimes use my microwave. I find that pizza with thick crust in triangle shapes works best for this.
Out of habit, I almost always take fruit with me out of the dining hall. Apples, oranges, bananas, cantaloupe, and even kiwi make their way into my containers or backpack.
Okay, so I have never actually attempted to carry soup from the dining hall, mostly because I have spilled soup in the dining hall far more often than I have eaten it. But one of my friends brought me my favorite chickpea soup from the dining hall, and I was so excited! They strained off about half of the broth and put it in a small heat proof container to bring to me. If I was bringing it, I would carry it separately or put it in the side compartment of my backpack.
I sometimes stir cereal into yogurt, or I add milk, which I keep in a separate container. I normally just dump the cereal in a zip lock bag and make sure it can’t get crushed.
Having some sweets around is always a great way to brighten up a day. I love having small cookies or blondies available as a snack, especially after a migraine.
One year, the pipes froze in my dorm and I was temporarily without running water. Thankfully, I had several bottles of water, and had also filled up my normal water bottles at the dining hall. It’s better to be safe than sorry, but know that the university will provide water if there is an issue.
While technically you’re not supposed to take food from the dining hall, no one has ever stopped me from doing so, and if they did, I would explain my behavior. However, I love having ready made food so I can focus on managing my pain condition, and not on thinking about how I will eat for the rest of the day.
Wondering how to navigate the dining hall with a vision impairment? Read this