Trading Plates: Swapping Your Staples

In an environment where pizza exists in abundance and eating calzones at 3 a.m. is socially acceptable, the myth of the “freshman 15” may be more fact than fiction. While it’s entirely normal to put on a few pounds after a few months away at school, health should always be a priority. Replacing your Penn State staples with similar, healthier options will have you feeling more energized without compromising that satisfaction that only Pokey Sticks can provide.

Frozen Favorites

Berkey Creamery is the definition of a Penn State staple. With its menu of fan favorites, the famous “no mixing flavors” rule and tempting location across from East Halls, the creamery is hard to resist as the months get warmer. However, replacing your Alumni Swirl with another refreshing option may be the difference between instant gratification and a treat you can feel good about. Jamba Juice has a wide variety of flavors on its menu, and while some reach similar calorie counts to Berkey’s ice cream, others offer low-calorie, high protein options. The additional option of “boosts” like kale, protein, collagen and chia seeds make your smoothie less of a guilty pleasure and more of a healthy treat.

Calzone Cravings

Ah, D.P. Dough. A favorite late-night attraction. While VALLEY doesn’t expect you to cut the calzones entirely from your diet, keep in mind the variation between menu items. The Mac n Pork Zone weighs in at 806 calories per half, which, if we’re being honest, isn’t always where the eating stops. To avoid waking up and immediately regretting downing 1,612 calories worth of calzone and flopping into bed, find a new favorite menu item. The Safety Zone is only 357 calories per half, and its lighter contents of cheese, spinach and mushrooms are less likely to sit heavily in your stomach than the Mac Daddy.

Breakfast Bites

State College breakfast, while often synonymous with the Waffle Shop, is sometimes an on-the-go affair. If your 9 a.m. is keeping you from sitting down for breakfast, but you still want to grab a hearty meal, consider ditching the donuts for something more filling. Penn State has upped its donut game recently with the additions of Duck Donuts and Peace, Love and Little Donuts. Trading these options for another State staple — Bagel Crust — may seem counterintuitive considering the cheesy, overloaded bagel sandwich we all know and love. However, by scanning the menu and getting a bagel sandwich with ingredients like egg whites and avocado rather than bacon, you can make the sandwich into a delicious, nutritious and filling way to start the day.

With the sheer amount of fast food, late-night temptations and sweet treats on campus, VALLEY knows how hard it can be to stay healthy at Penn State. But with some tasty replacements and harder looks at the menu, you can ditch or rework those State College staples and create a diet that tastes good and makes you feel good.


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