How to Eat Cheap and Healthy In IV


Melissa Bippart
Staff Writer
Photographs by: Andrew Ngai

Finding meal options in Isla Vista that are both healthy and cheap meal can be a struggle for University of California, Santa Barbara students. But there are a few local eateries and markets that boast both economically friendly and health-conscious menu items and ingredients.

UCSB fourth-year Chemistry major Emily Fortgang has a few recommendations for students who are looking to eat economically and healthily.

“When I go to Freebirds, I order a corn taco with a side of chips and it costs me less than five dollars,” she said. “I feel like adding salsa and guacamole on that is an appropriately portioned meal.”

Fortgang also recommends visiting the Isla Vista Food Co-Op.

“The variety of dried fruit, granola, and trail mix in the bin section is both reasonably priced and delicious,” she said.

Fortgang and fourth-year Political Science major Jacquie Mitchner have recently helped establish a group called “Isla Vista Chefs” at UCSB.

“We started this group to learn easy and healthy meal options and to pass on the recipes to other IV residents,” said Mitchner. “Learning to live a healthy lifestyle in college will promote healthy habits for the rest of our lives.”

The group’s website,, shares easy, healthy and cost-friendly entree ingredients that can be found in local IV markets.

Isla Vista Chefs established their website in hopes that they would be able to make simple recipes available to students who are not accustomed to cooking for themselves and to possibly raise the whole community’s confidence in the kitchen. One of the group’s focuses is teaching students to cook for themselves with a specific focus on teaching beginner chefs.

One of the website’s recipes, “Black Bean, Corn and Quinoa Salad,” is an example of a healthy option that students can whip up with ingredients found within walking distance. All ingredients can be found at the Isla Vista Food Co-Op at relatively low prices. The recipe, listed on the website’s homepage, takes less than twenty minutes to prepare and includes plenty of fresh veggies and satisfying flavor.

The easy recipe entails cooking the quinoa for about 15 minutes (according to package), adding pre-cooked black beans, and mixing in a variety of vegetables, spices, and seasonings for a delicious and empowering meal.
By joining the organization’s Facebook group, “Isla Vista Chefs,” you can also contribute your own homemade recipes and acquire other peoples’ recipes for all types of occasions and tastes. The group’s main goal is to establish and foster a community-based online recipe book for students who have an interest in eating food that is delectable, healthy, and convenient to prepare.