A mile down from Princeton University, on the intersection of Harrison and Nassau Street, lies a little-known Princeton treasure: Whole Earth Center. Think of it as a smaller, more local Whole Foods: filled with healthy snacks and meals, fresh produce, and other products that the dining hall is guaranteed never to have.
Whole Earth Center requires a bit of a walk, or a bike ride if the weather cooperates. This weekend, the last one of Princeton’s Intersession Break, felt like the perfect time to stock up on wholesome, nutritious food for second semester. It didn’t hurt that the weather was sunny and warm (at least compared to the recent blizzard), perfect for a bike ride. I’ve done a fair amount of shopping at Whole Earth Center, so I chose 9 of my favorite things to buy.
1. Siggi’s Yogurt
Siggi’s Yogurt isn’t Greek yogurt- it’s skyr. Skyr is Greek yogurt’s thicker, richer cousin, with more protein and more flavor. Siggi’s Yogurt is the best brand of skyr that I’ve had, but it’s also hard to find. Luckily, Whole Earth Center carries it, and in many different flavors. The Plain and Vanilla versions are delicious, but look out for the seasonal Pumpkin or Fig and Lemon Zest.
2. Freshly-Ground Coffee
It can be tough to be a coffee snob in college. Sometimes, the dining hall coffee just doesn’t cut it. That’s why I always take the opportunity to buy coffee at Whole Earth Center. The beans are sold in bulk, and they can be ground into the french-press-friendly version on-site. The coffee is strong, and making it in your dorm leaves the whole room smelling just like Small World.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never pass up a square or two of plain, U-store bought chocolate. But the selection at Whole Earth Center is pretty special- their flavors range from Crystallized Ginger to Orange Peel and everything in between. Anything to make your healthy dark chocolate habit even better, right?
4. Granola in Bulk
When it comes to bulk bin granola, I’m like a kid in a candy store. Bulk bins are perfect for trying out several different types or for when you just want one serving. Whole Earth Center even has gluten-free or paleo options. From personal experience, the Almond-Coconut flavor goes great with vanilla Siggi’s Yogurt.
5. Almond Milk
The dining halls at Princeton do a great job of providing dairy-free options, but they are sorely lacking in the almond milk department. I much prefer it to soy or rice milk, as it is more flavorful and creamier. Whole Earth Center carries the Califia Farms brand, which is free of preservatives and other junk. Try making your favorite hot chocolate or oatmeal with their unsweetened original flavor.
6. Oatmeal or Yogurt Mix-Ins
On mornings when rain, snow, or time constraints force me to make breakfast in my dorm, it’s easy to fall into the trap of boring oatmeal or yogurt. Luckily, Whole Earth Center carries lots of fun, but hard to find, mix-ins. My favorites include unsweetened coconut flakes and cacoa nibs, both of which are nowhere to be found in the dining halls. There is no longer an excuse for a boring breakfast.
I know we’re all sick of hearing about kale chips and the hummus and veggie combo. But hear me out: some of the crazy, health-food snacks at Whole Earth Center are actually really good. Their bulk bins carry hundreds of varieties of nuts and popcorn, and they also carry rare products like these Chili-Pumpkin Brussel Bytes. So next time you are craving a bag of potato chips, reach for a bag of these instead.
8. Frozen Fruit
. I refuse to give up my side of berries in the morning; but it can be hard to keep fresh produce in your dorm. That’s why I’m a big fan of frozen fruit. Sometimes, frozen fruit is actually fresher than what’s in the dining hall or sold at other stores, if the fruit is frozen immediately upon picking.
9. Peanut Butter
Forget about Jiffy- Whole Earth Center has more varieties of nut butter than you can count. Perfect for people like me, whose favorite way to eat peanut butter is right out of the jar with a spoon. My favorite is Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter, which pairs perfectly with strawberry jam in morning oats or in a PB&J. Also keep an eye out for the freshly ground peanut butter, made on-site.
There you have it, 9 of my favorite things to buy at Whole Earth Center. These are only a small fraction of what the store sells; there are so many other delicious and healthy options. So next time you find yourself with some extra time, make the walk to Whole Earth Center and stock up.