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Breaking Bread With The ‘Foodies Of State College’

A few weeks ago, I wrote an opinion piece about the lack of nutritious options on campus and in downtown State College. As this post made its way around the internet and the replies rolled in, I realized that there were quite a few places that I had overlooked.

Looking to right my wrongs, I headed to the “Foodies of State College” Facebook group. With almost 9,000 members, the group was extremely helpful in my quest to discover the healthy local food scene.

Here are some highlights from my conversation with the Foodies, ranging from their thoughts about eating healthy in State College to places they would recommend. If you were having the same problem as me, consider this to be your remedy.

On Eating Healthy

Natascha Hoffmeyer

“Healthy means different things to different people — but if we’re thinking locally grown vegetables and humanely raised meat, Centre Markets is a great example, and it supports the small businesses and farms in the area. Maine Bay & Berry Co. is the spot for excellent, fresh seafood. Fiddlehead’s salads are a great lunch option and always fresh. Many of our Asian grocers have a great selection of Asian vegetables. Nature’s Pantry also sells a lot of local foods including many vegetarian and vegan options. That’s just off the top of my head. Most restaurants aren’t the epitome of “healthy” cooking due to their heavier use of salt and fats, but I consider going out a treat. Everything in moderation…including moderation.”

Colleen Elizabeth

“Like others have said, ‘healthy’ can be really subjective and means very different things to different people. I lift weights, so what I’m usually looking for are foods very high in protein with not too much fat, but also not necessarily low fat, complex carbs in the form of grains or vegetables, and minimal added sugars. Roots Natural Kitchen, The Greek, India Pavilion, and Hawaiian Yummy Poke Bowl are staples for consistent high quality fresh foods that meet my dietary goals.”

Ashley Dolan

“Honestly (as a nutritional science major at Penn State), I’m not a huge fan of the idea that eating out should happen often enough to drastically affect your health either way. College is a great time to learn about how to cook nutritious meals on a budget, especially with all the farmers markets and international markets in this town. Don’t rely on restaurants.”

Jamie Sheller

“As a visitor to State College, it was hard to find healthy options on the main streets and around the campus. I did not see any of the healthy food options chains like Honey Grow, La Cava, Hip City Veg, Sweet Green, or Poke. Sushi was hard to find, and there was an over abundance of Mexican, burgers pizza, wings, and barbecue.”

After considering what these Foodies had to say about eating healthy in State College, I dove deeper into the archives and comments in an attempt to discover some healthy and local options that these experts recommended.

Webster’s Bookstore & Café

Emily Martin

“Webster’s Bookstore and Café is a wonderful community asset. Not only does it offer delicious fair trade coffee, teas, used books, vinyl, and board games to play while there, but amazing food. Elaine and her team manages [Webster’s] to make the most amazing vegan/vegetarian/gluten free/dairy-free dishes, and you don’t even realize it’s good for you. On Wednesdays, they have a vegan community meal on a sliding scale. $10 if you can afford it or free if you can’t. Webster’s is located on Beaver Ave. underneath Uncle Eli’s.”

Roots Natural Kitchen

Lisa Marie

“Roots Natural Kitchen at 270 E. Beaver Ave. is delicious! You could eat there daily and get something different. I get dinner and [the] next day’s lunch from each bowl.”

Emily Martin

“It’s honestly inexpensive for the amount and quality, especially compared to some places that have $18 burgers.”

Sowers Harvest Café

Rachel Nelson

“I had an amazing veggie omelet at Sowers Harvest Café recently! It was delicious, and the atmosphere was great, too!”

RE Farm Café

John Swope

“RE Farm had a great selection of local, organic, foods. Pricey, I think, on some items, but always great quality.”

Did the Foodies of State College leave off one of your favorite options? Drop us a line in the comments to share it with our readers.

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About the Author

Adam Babetski

Adam Babetski is a senior double majoring in communications and medieval history, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. He's from the only part of Virginia without tractors and southern accents, except Richmond (reportedly). You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBabetski for hot takes about sports. For serious inquiries, email [email protected]

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