Weighing In: Going Green at Green Bowl

Photo by Maddie Klebe

It’s Day 1 of your diet and so far you’re kicking butt at this whole “eating healthy” thing. You had a bowl of oatmeal this morning (sans large mound of brown sugar) with a banana and are eating a bowl of chicken noodle soup for lunch when your friend texts you asking if you want to go out for dinner tonight.

Just when you’re about to accept your fate and suggest Five Guys for dinner, you stumble across this article and thank the wonderful writers at Valley (You know you love us, xoxo, Valley Girls.) for their uncanny ability to make both delicious and healthy dinner suggestions.

Looking for somewhere different to eat downtown, but don’t want to spoil your calorie count for the day? Tantalize your taste buds and try a bowl of awesome tonight when you eat at Green Bowl on Beaver Avenue.

I honestly can’t imagine how your taste buds could not be tantalized with a description like that.

But seriously, Green Bowl is one of Downtown State College’s hidden gems, and whether or not you’ve ever tried one of the restaurant’s many stir-fry combinations, with the help of Penn State Nutrition professor Alison Borkowska, we’re going to weigh in on how to get the best bang for your nutritiously spent buck when you fill up your bowl.

“In general, I would say focus on the assortment of vegetables that are available,” says Borkowska. “The vegetables will bulk up the plate volume, which will help keep you fuller longer.”

Green Bowl offers over thirty different vegetable options to choose from, serving only veggies that are in-season and adding new choices to the menu when local farms are growing some extra-special crops like sweet peaches and black Spanish radishes.

With practically the entire veggie species at your fingertips (or fork tongs, whichever), choosing the veggie combos to suit your individual need can be overwhelming.

But that’s what we have Borkowska for, right? “A couple combos off the top of my head might be: mushrooms and kale; spinach and peas; eggplant and kale,” she says. “All those have a good amount of fiber AND protein, keeping you fuller longer.

A couple other super-foods on the menu you might want to add to your bowl are bamboo shoots, which are low in calories and fat and help promote heart health, broccoli, which contains a ton of vitamins and minerals to give you that extra boost, and spinach, which is virtually flavorless and builds up your immune system.

After choosing your veggies (or fruits, but watch out for added sugar), you should start to consider what kind of meat to add to the mix. Borkowska recommends shrimp or scallops – most fish and seafood contains unique nutrients that your typical steak or chicken don’t. And if you are a steak or chicken kind of gal, we’ve got you covered:

“Lean proteins provide quality protein with less saturated fat,” says Borkowska.  “It’s perfectly fine to have red meat as well, but just limit portions. Examples of a lean meat would be chicken without the skin, as well as tuna.”

You also have the choice of picking a sauce to marinate all your healthy goodness in, and while sauces definitely add extra calories, fat and sugar to any meal, Green Bowl has twenty sauce options to choose from, and hey, you’re basically just eating veggies anyway.

Avoid sauces that are too salty like the sweet and sour and stick to vinaigrette-based sauces to keep things low-cal and heart-healthy.

According to Borkowska, there’s another thing you might want to keep in mind when loading up your bowl: “Go easy on the rice and noodles,” she says.  “They won’t keep you full long.

Fill up on the good stuff and join us at Green Bowl for dinner (or lunch!). We promise both your taste buds and your body will thank you.