Juice, shakes and salad: how to eat healthy locally

Emily DeLetter

It can seem impossible to find a place to eat out off campus that’s not just greasy burgers and fries. Fear not, WKU. Bowling Green is home to several alternative eateries catering to dietary needs or the health-conscious.

Located in downtown Bowling Green, Zest! Juice for Life offers a variety of fruits and vegetables cold-pressed into juices. Owner Natalie Boddeker has been running the business for the last four years, starting only at farmer’s markets and eventually opening her own store about two years ago.

Almost everything offered in the store is vegan. Boddeker said it’s her goal to get as many people eating and drinking their fruits and vegetables as she can.

“It’s about providing a healthy alternative to people,” Boddeker said. “I’m still active in the farmer’s markets, but a lot of people don’t realize that we also have a shop.”

Boddeker said their green juices are some of the best sellers, along with the vegetable sushi, part of a special the store is currently running.

“The ‘Kale Yeah’ juice is one of the most popular,” Boddeker said. “Everything in the store is either handmade or local.”

Zest! Juice for Life
326 East Main Ave
Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Best for cold-pressed fruits and vegetables into juices.

For anyone with a gluten allergy or intolerance, Wheatless Smokehouse is Bowling Green’s only gluten-free restaurant. Serving lunch and dinner, the restaurant’s menu appears similar to a menu at any other establishment, offering appetizers, soups, pasta and sandwiches.

Wheat is the traditional choice for flour, but Wheatless uses a blend of tapioca and brown rice they combine with seasonings and spices to get a unique flavor.

Manager Michael Cowles said best-selling items were the appetizers because many of their customers can’t eat breaded food at any other place.

“Traditionally, breading has gluten in it, but since we make it gluten-free, customers flock to that,” Cowles said. “People come in and say they haven’t had a mozzarella stick in 10 years, or kids say they’ve never had a pancake, and we are able to give that to them.”

Wheatless also offers gluten-free health conscious items on the menu, such as kale salads and zucchini-based pasta that help cut down on calorie intake.

Wheatless Smokehouse
801 Campbell Ln
Monday – Sunday 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Best for gluten-free options.

For a large variety of healthy options, as well as build-your-own options, Saladworks is a fast-casual restaurant with over 60 ingredients and an endless amount of options.

Bowling Green Saladworks Operations Director Meredith Oberson said they are serving customers focused on eating clean, healthy food.

Items on the menu include vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and paleo options.

“Health and fitness are at an all-time high, and people are attracted to us because of our menu variety,” Oberson said. “There aren’t a lot of fast-casual healthy options, but they only offer a few salads or healthier sandwiches, so we really stand out.”

Saladworks also offers a 10 percent discount to WKU students.

“I like that I get the feeling of a balanced meal,” said Saladworks customer Rhonda Pryor. “I don’t feel as bad eating a cookie for dessert when I’ve had a salad for lunch.”

2300 Gary Farm Blvd
Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. ; Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Best for made-to-order salads, sandwiches and soups.

Former WKU student Austin Sutcliffe opened a restaurant last May focused on providing healthy and affordable protein shakes to Bowling Green.

The shakes act as a meal replacement, with less than 200 calories and over 20 vitamins and minerals as well as 20 grams of protein.

Bestselling shakes include the White Chocolate Reese’s shake and the Chocolate Elvis, a blend of chocolate, peanut butter and banana.

The shop isn’t just sticking to shakes, however. They also offer a “healthier version of 5-hour energy,” Health Coach Justin Frost said.

“It can be substituted for coffee,” Frost said. “It contains Iron and antioxidants but what really sets it apart is the ginseng, which is really good for mental focus.”

Frost said the store has been busy since they’ve opened and thought that is a good sign for Bowling Green.

“We can help a lot of people reach fitness goals that they have whether that be through weight loss or a body transformation,” Frost said.

Top of the Hill Nutrition

900 Fairview Ave

Monday – Thursday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. ; Friday 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. ; Saturday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. ; Sunday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Best for meal replacement protein shakes.

Reporter Emily DeLetter can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected].