Frequently eating well can be hard for college students. Maybe you don’t have the money or time to shop at the grocery store, you ran out of meal swipes or you woke up too late and missed breakfast.
You can visit the University Center (UCen) Associated Students Food Bank or the Miramar Food Pantry (located in the Sierra Madre Villages) to grab a quick meal or grocery items to make your own. Check out some information about how each food bank works and don’t forget to try some of our recipes using the free items.
Associated Students Food Bank
The Associated Students (A.S.) Food Bank is conveniently located in the UCen on the second floor, but make sure to enter through the outside. Their mission is to provide fresh, free food and toiletries. There are two requirements to use the food bank: You must be a registered UCSB student and you should complete a self-declaration of income online at https://foodbank.as.ucsb.edu to confirm you make less than $14,484 a year.
The food bank is divided into 12 categories: starch (bread, tortillas, rice, pasta), soup, sauce, beans, protein (peanut butter, canned tuna), canned vegetables, breakfast (oatmeal, cereal), instant lunch (top ramen, mac and cheese), miscellaneous (bars, chips, crackers, baking goods) and a wide variety of fresh produce, plus menstrual hygiene products and toiletries (toilet paper, soap). Produce doesn’t have a maximum capacity, and besides feminine hygiene (which restricts students to three items), all other categories have a one-item max, but you can attend the food bank every day it’s open!
On the A.S. food bank website you can also find more information about CalFresh, nutrition and food skills, meal tickets and the UCSB Financial Crisis Response Team as well as other food resources on or around campus. If you’re interested, there are also volunteer and employment opportunities. Make sure to take advantage of this free and extremely beneficial resource, and don’t forget to take your access card!
Here are some recipes you can create from some of the resources at the food bank:
Nutella Stuffed French Toast
Even though this breakfast looks, smells and tastes fancy and complicated, it’s a very simple and indulging meal. What makes it even better is that you can get the bread and fruit used in this recipe from the food bank on campus! Impress your friends with this Sunday morning dish, and have your entire floor wishing they were as talented as you.
Serves: 4 Nutella sandwiches
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup of your milk of choice (I used 2%, but I love oat milk!)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (I ran out so I didn’t use any but it adds a great flavor)
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 8 slices of bread (I used the potato bread from the food bank!)
- 1 jar of nutella
- 1 bottle of syrup
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Optional: bananas (you can get from food bank!), strawberries or powdered sugar
- Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla extract and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl.
- Grab one slice of bread and spread as much Nutella as you want on it, and then place another slice of bread on top to create a sandwich.
- Using a spatula, dip the sandwich into your egg mix (make sure to dip both sides).
- Melt a bit of butter in a pan on medium heat and place the sandwich in the pan, cooking each side for about two minutes.
- Top your french toast with your fresh fruit, maple syrup and, if you’re bougie, powdered sugar. Enjoy!
- *Bonus step: cook some eggs on the side for a more complete breakfast!
Miramar Food Pantry
When I went on Thursday, the restock day, they had a wide variety of options. Since they have fridges, they can store more temperature-sensitive items like eggs. They have six-packs of eggs available; however it does tend to run out fast. We managed to get iceberg lettuce, butter lettuce, celery, peppers, canned corn and eggs. They do offer more options, but it is far from the main campus.
The following recipe is for a simple risotto I made using ingredients gathered from the food bank. These are the general steps I like to follow, however, sometimes I like to add other ingredients like diced mushrooms or seafood! This recipe can be made using vegetable stock instead of chicken and you can omit the parmesan for a vegan alternative.
- 1/2 cup of long-grain rice
- 1/2 green onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp of butter or olive oil (or a combo!)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 can of chicken broth
- 2 cups of water
- Grated parmesan
- Optional: 5 basil leaves
- Peel the outer layer of the onion and cut in half. Then dice half the onion. Peel the outer layer of garlic and finely mince. Measure out approximately a half-cup of long-grain rice and set it to the side.
- Heat the chicken stock and water in a small pot on the side. Alternatively, one could microwave in a large bowl for 1 1/2 after adding the rice to the pan (refer to step 5).
- Heat up the butter or olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat.
- Add the onion to the frying pan. Season with salt and pepper. Allow it to cook until all of the onion has turned semi-translucent. Then add the minced garlic.
- Add the rice to the garlic and onions. Saute until semi-golden.
- Add half-cup of chicken broth + water to the rice. Once it boils off, add another 1/2 cup). Continue until out of chicken stock. Be sure to stir during this process.
- Add parmesan until the mixture thickens (typically around 1/4 cup, but if you like extra cheese go for it!)
- Add chopped green onion and basil.
- Garnish with green onion and basil and serve.
Mini Apple Crisp
During the fall season, my mom would always make apple crisp using apples from our tree in the backyard. Since I’m at college during the fall, I haven’t been able to enjoy an apple crisp in a very long time. Since the food bank always has a good supply of apples and oats, I decided to try to make a personal-sized apple crisp!
- 1 apple
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons of oats
- Butter or oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Peel the apple skin off the apple.
- Cut the apple in half and take out the core. Then slice the apples into two small pieces.
- Coat the apple pieces with two tablespoons of sugar and one teaspoon of cinnamon. You can add more or less cinnamon depending on preference.
- Coat the bottom of your ramekin or bowl with a thin layer of butter or oil to prevent sticking. I use medium-sized glass pyrex bowls since they are oven-safe.
- Place the apple pieces into the oven-safe container.
- Mix the oats with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and one teaspoon of cinnamon.
- Cover the top of the apples with the oat sugar mix.
- Place in the oven for 45 minutes.
- Let cool, then serve.