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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 — Houston, TX

Feel-Good Foods: A Guide to the Best Healthy Spots near Campus

Illustrated by Chloe Xu

By Sarah Bartos     1/26/21 10:15pm

 Welcome to 2021! If you’re anything like me, you’ve seen the myriad of ads promoting healthy living and wellness in the new year. I believe in the idea that you are what you eat, and I am interested in feeding my body, mind and soul without perpetuating the toxic aspects of diet culture. If you are looking to improve your diet and lifestyle, I got you covered with a list of the best healthy options near campus. 

Courtesy Steve Gonzalez

Local Farmers Markets

Various locations 

It is incredible to support local agriculture and food workers, especially amid a global pandemic. If you live off-campus and need groceries or you’re just interested in supporting local vendors, there are a few great farmers markets a short distance from Rice! 

The Rice Village Farmers Market is an open-air market near campus that offers goods ranging from fresh produce and chef-prepared meals to artisanal coffee, pasta sauce and more. This market operates in Rice Village on the first and third Sundays each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

The Urban Harvest Farmers Market is located about 15 minutes away from campus at 2752  Buffalo Speedway and offers products from nearly 100 Houston vendors, ranging from hot meals to fresh fruits and vegetables. This market is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.

Courtesy Community Impact Newspaper (West University)

Local Foods 

2424 Dunstan Road

When it comes to eating healthy, sustainably, and locally, Local Foods has you covered! This mini-chain has five locations around Houston and sources all of its ingredients from Texas. 

The Rice Village location reminds me of a smaller, more homey version of Whole Foods. Along with prepared food from their menu, you can purchase various products such as locally sourced cheeses, a variety of drinks, pre-made meals and more. In terms of the menu, I’d recommend the Winter Harvest Salad, as the Brussel sprouts are to die for, especially when mixed with the pomegranate seeds and goat cheese! Their Banh Mi is excellent, and it comes with two sides that you can pick off the menu. Their salmon is the best I’ve tasted and provides well-needed omega-3s that will power you through your hardest general chemistry midterms. 

Local Foods offers delivery, pick up and in-person services. 

Courtesy Presssed Juicery

Pressed Juicery 

2437 University Blvd

Eating cleaner does not mean you have to sacrifice your sweet tooth! 

Made Instagram famous in Los Angeles, Pressed Juicery took the wellness world by storm with its “Pressed Freezes,” a healthier take on ice cream made primarily from dates, water and natural flavoring. Although this sounds nothing like regular ice cream, I promise you it will satisfy your sweet tooth without making you feel gross and bloated afterward. 

The freezes come in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and seasonal flavors such as pumpkin spice. With each freeze, you get the choice of three toppings. I’d recommend getting a size one vanilla freeze with almond butter, granola butter and cacao drizzle! Along with the freezes, Pressed offers various juices that can complement your diet and provide a variety of nutrients. 

The Rice Village location is offering in-person service; however, you can also order on a variety of food delivery apps. 

Courtesy Mendocino Farms

Mendocino Farms

5510 Morningside Drive

Whether it’s soup, sandwiches, salads or sides, Mendocino Farms has something for every aspiring healthy eater. Founded in the Golden State, this sandwich and salad shop brings the sunny Southern California wellness scene to Rice Village. 

Their extensive menu has something for every customer. For salad eaters, you can’t go wrong with the avocado superfood salad with roasted chicken. For sandwich lovers, I’d go for the not-so-fried-chicken sandwich. 

Courtesy sweetgreen


2551 Amherst Street

The word “salad” is sometimes synonymous with boring healthy eating. An image comes to mind of a plate filled with lettuce and a sad customer, wishing they had a cheeseburger in their hand.

Sweetgreen turns this narrative on its head. This restaurant chain originated in D.C. and is now in major U.S. cities, including Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston, New York and Houston. With thousands of permutations of toppings and dressings, you can make a custom bowl that suits your palate or stick to one of Sweetgreen’s pre-designed bowls. For the person who is not usually a salad eater but is looking to incorporate more vegetables into their diet, I’d recommend the “Chicken Pesto Parm.” This bowl has warm quinoa, a great complex carbohydrate, spinach, roasted chicken breast for a good protein kick, locally sourced parmesan cheese, tomatoes, spicy broccoli, Zatar spiced breadcrumbs, hot sauce and pesto dressing. I’d recommend trying combinations with the custom option for more seasoned salad lovers, as it’s super fun to experiment with your flavor preferences. I’d never think that I’d love spicy cashew dressing, but now it’s my go-to. 

As someone who has been an avid Sweetgreen consumer since they opened in Pennsylvania, I find it super cool that the Houston locations offer shrimp as a protein choice. I’ve incorporated this ingredient in a variety of my custom bowls.  

Sweetgreen has new precautions in place to control the spread of COVID-19. Instead of ordering inside the restaurant in Rice Village, which is an option, they strongly encourage customers to download the app and select a pick-up time. You can also get your meal delivered straight from the Sweetgreen app or with your favorite food delivery app. 

If you are looking to fuel your mind, body and spirit with healthy, local and overall good food in the new year, I hope you utilize this list, and of course, share your orders as well; we are all in this together!

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