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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Road Food


The holidays always mean extended car trips for us and, despite grand intentions, we never seem to have all the food or snacks we need to get us through. Plus, traveling with the kids and two dogs also means everyone needs a break and a chance to move around. Although a little compromise always seems to be in order to keep everyone happy, road food is not exactly filled with great options for holistic-minded families. Rest stops are desperately in need of some healthier options, although I have to say we have come across a few random farmers markets set up at highway rest stops much to our surprise. While we couldn't make a meal out of the offerings, we were excited to pick up organic garlic, local apples, and winter squash for our destination.

Although McDonald's feeds more than 27 million people a day, an astounding figure, even on road trips it remains out of the question for our gluten-intolerant, health-oriented family. Yes, you can make "healthier" choices at the fast food locales that you will find at the average rest stop but even these may be pretty significant compromises. Those of you who are organized or high-tech do have some options: you can map out your trip in advance and locate healthier places to eat, coordinating your route accordingly or if you have an iPhone, you can search out restaurants along the way. Unfortunately, I am neither. But, there is a resource that should not be missed by those of us lacking organization, planning, or technological savvy: Healthy Highways: The Travelers' Guide to Healthy Eating by Nikki and David Goldbeck. This handy little guide, perfect for your glove compartment, lists nearly 3,000 stops across the U.S. where you can locate vegetarian, natural, or health food eateries or stores en route to your destination. Each chapter maps out a state marking the locations of health food stores, markets, restaurants, and other places to find organic, fresh, whole foods options. Addresses, phone numbers, and directions will guide you there even without a GPS and keywords will tell you if it is an eat-in, take-out, cafe, self-service, or other type of establishment. Non-smoking and handicapped accessible notations can also serve as useful guides.

Thanks to the Goldbecks, you can eat healthier on the road and also support greener, more sustainable options. Enjoy the holidays!

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