You are what you eat: Typical UC Berkeley student meals

Isabella Ko/Staff

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Maintaining some sort of balanced, healthy diet can often be a struggle when there is no meal plan to rely on. Here are some common meals you may find yourself eating when the motivation to cook is low and you’ve already made three trips to the Taco Bell on Durant Avenue this week.

Instant ramen 

Yes, it’s not just a myth. Students really do rely on this classic college staple. Sometimes it’s nice to put a fun spin on it and do a “spicy ramen” challenge. For those of you who have no time to waste, you know you can always trust instant ramen to keep you full for at least a couple of lectures. Another great thing about instant ramen is its versatility. Put on your chef’s hat and cook a li’l egg to elevate your ramen to new heights. The endearing part of some instant ramen or noodles is the little packet of dried veggies. The ones that come with a separate packet of sesame seeds never fail to make you feel extra fancy.

Leftovers from Racha Café

Nothing tastes better than a clump of congealed pad thai at 9 p.m. after a long day on campus. The food stews in its spices and sauce for a few hours, allowing it to become the sustenance it was meant to be. Leftovers in general just hit different, especially when you’re starving and your roommates actually listened to your pleas and didn’t eat your food.

Free food at a club event

This is the best situation. Good food with good company, and it’s no cost to you! This meal is ideal around dinner time and when it’s not pizza. The key to securing a bite of this is to make sure you have someone to save you some in case you run late and the event is popular. If the event is going a bit slow, more for the crew. Just don’t forget your food containers.

Your roommate’s awful cooking

No matter how much you hate to admit it, your roommate is still a better cook than you. The least you can do for them and yourself is to compliment them profusely and take big bites. Things that are healthy for you usually taste bad, right? You were curious about the smell coming from the kitchen, and now you know. Don’t worry, with just a few more Tasty videos and words of encouragement, they will be almost as great as any pro you see on Food Network.


We don’t recommend this, but there is a reason a lot of people don’t really feel hungry after a huge serving of boba pearls swimming in milk tea. If you’re running low on funds for the month (since you spent all of your month’s budget pre-ordering the new Animal Crossing game) then just remember that chewing your boba makes it last longer.

A carrot and Sriracha sauce (or any combination of the food scraps left in the fridge)

If you somehow boil the carrot in the microwave, a carrot with some Sriracha sauce will taste like spicy mush at best. It’s in those moments of desperation when you decide to pair two random food items left in your fridge that make you appreciate the consistency of the dining hall. Please just go to the grocery store if you are able. If not, know that there is a food pantry located in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union that is accessible to all campus students.

A bag of chips

You might feel accomplished after you swallow the last crumb, but be prepared for a world of hurt the next morning. This may have seemed like a good idea after studying in your dark room for hours, but trust us, it’s definitely an experience not worth reliving. There is no need to down an entire family-size bag of chips if you have literally anything else in your kitchen.

Though these “meals” may be temporary options for many, food security is a real issue on campus. It is important to recognize our privileges when it comes to food resources and to support those who may not be as fortunate as some of us.

Contact Malvika Singhal at [email protected] .