Pennsylvania State University is a top-ranked research institution, division one football school and a land plentiful with fast food. From pizza with mac and cheese on top to sandwiches filled with mozzarella sticks and chicken nuggets, Penn State knows how to eat.
Coming back from a night out to the bountiful food options on College Avenue is a rush of relief and excitement all at once. But when you aren’t coming back from your late-night adventures sometimes what you need to hit the spot is a home-cooked healthy meal.
Even if you’re lucky enough to have a personal kitchen where you can achieve this yourself, you should know where in State College to get your healthy fix and VALLEY has you covered.
Hello Bistro doesn’t have some of the best burgers downtown, but they’re also known for their delicious signature salads and grain bowl options (Make sure to try a side of fries with your meal, you know, for balance).
With so many options to choose from such as the Buffalo Chicken and Mediterranean Shrimp salads, Hello Bistro has a bowl for every mood.
If you’ve been to Roots before you’ve probably already locked down your go-to grain bowl or salad. Once you have your order, it’s nearly impossible to change it up, that bowl becomes home when the first bite hits your mouth.
Roots has a whole line-up of every healthy topping or protein you could want in your bowl plus fun toppings like pickled onions to make your healthy meal your own.
While this popular HUB spot has many indulgent options, like their mac and cheese, the salads and sandwiches come in plenty of healthy varieties. The Southwest Avocado Salad is one of the best salads they offer but definitely check out the menu to find what looks best to you.
As one of the best sandwich spots on campus, any of their options can be made healthier with substitutions, or if you like everything on it you can do a half sandwich with a half salad.
Soup and Garden
This one might be common sense but still, a must-try spot if you’re trying to kickstart your health journey or just a healthier lifestyle.
This spot really tests your self-control, positioned right next to Slim Chickens and Burger King in the HUB, but VALLEY is pro salad with a side of fries.
The salad bar is a great option for lunch because while you know there will always be the usual lettuces and veggies present they are always switching up specialty sides and salads adding some excitement to the usual mundane salad bar you are probably used to. Some VALLEY favorites are the honey hot chicken and pre-made caesar salad, great alone but even better together.
Yes, “Yum Yum” sauce isn’t the healthiest food but aside from the delicious hibachi options available, the poke bowls are an excellent option.
You can make your own or pick from the various options they have available. Don’t be afraid to spice up your order and try different proteins and toppings.
VALLEY tip: add edamame to your bowl to sneak in some extra protein.
Also, if you’re in the mood to try something different. definitely opt for a sushi burrito. Everything you love about your poke bowl wrapped up in a seaweed blanket makes the perfect sushi-rrito.