This post is sponsored by Crispy Green
As many of you know, I have been volunteering in the CSULA food pantry this semester for my 40 outside of class community nutrition hours. It has been eye opening to say the least and has inspired me to get creative with non-perishable items since that’s what our pantry provides for students. As a nutrition student my job is to check and see that each bag is nutritionally balanced or as balanced as it can be with the items we have at the time. We strive for whole grains, plant protein, canned fruit and veggies, and snack items + lots of pasta and PB and J. I try and put together a meal or multiple meals in my head so that it isn’t some random compilation of cans that are gross by themselves.
Just to give you a little context, after a preliminary study conducted by CSULB, data showed that about 1 in 10 students on CSU campuses are food insecure or have a lack of housing. That means in a class of 30, you potentially have three people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from or where they will sleep tonight. That makes my heart ache. My experience at CSULA has opened my eyes to many things but this was one of the biggest. Students at CSULA often pay for their tuition themselves, work multiple jobs, have a family, and make it to class. I feel incredibly blessed to have my parents who financially support me through this process because it has allowed me to give it my all. Sometimes we take something as simple as our next meal for granted.
In working with Crispy Green, a freeze dried fruit brand, I realized that this was a wonderful opportunity to add a special item to the bags I am making this week. Now to be clear, freeze dried fruit is not the most economical option for students looking to purchase fruit themselves, however, for when we are low on fruit donations this is the perfect product to purchase since we can’t have perishable items in the pantry yet. Freeze drying allows the nutrients to stay in tact without adding anything else! I thought it would be a great way to get the word out about the CSULA pantry as well as this brand for you to purchase and donate for your local non-perishable food pantries! There are 7 different flavors to choose from (including mango and banana- so fun!) and I went with apple for the recipe because that was most fall to me. If a student didn’t want to make the recipe but rather have a crunchy snack, the mini bags are super portable too.
In addition to adding a little something new and different into these bags I wanted to create a recipe to go along with it only using items found in our pantry or what students may have at home. Some of our most popular items, and some of the cheapest and nutrient dense to donate are oats (carb), and peanut butter (protein + fat)! One of my favorite breakfast items is oatmeal and I thought making an apple spice oatmeal would be fitting since it’s fall. For the record, it is not fall in LA with these 90 degree temperatures but we can at least pretend at breakfast right?
Here’s what ya need:
In addition to this- if you are looking for more cheap meals check this out! I hope you enjoyed this post. Maybe it opened your eyes to some of your fellow classmates or some other options that non perishable fruit can give you!