Finding Healthy Food at National Parks Just Got Easier

| Food News & Dangers by

89678844If you enjoy visiting national parks with your family, you’re probably used to packing snacks and healthy food whenever you embark on a trip, to avoid spending lots of money buying unhealthy fast food when you get there. But now you’ll be able to find healthy food—like grass-fed beef, fish tacos, and fresh tomato soup—at many national parks, thanks to the new Healthy and Sustainable Food Program (HSFP), the National Park Service announced today.

“There’s no reason you should have to take a vacation from healthy eating when you’re on vacation,” Jonathan Jarvis, director of the National Park Service, told USA Today. “The prices of the foods at parks are set so they are affordable to all Americans,” he said.

Every year, about 23 million people buy food at over 75 national parks—but normally, they wouldn’t have the option of eating healthy food. The new nationwide program will help Americans make healthy food choices when they’re visiting national parks this year—although you can still get your old-time favorites like hot dogs and ice cream.

Some of the new healthy food options include garden vegetable pasta, a Mediterranean salad, split pea soup, grass-fed beef, and free-range, hormone-free chicken. The parks will make an effort to offer local produce when possible.

“Often times the parks are isolated so there may not be many other food venues nearby. You think of going to a park as a healthier vacation because you are hiking and walking around,” said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). “But if the food isn’t healthy, you may come back one or two pounds heavier and never lose it.”

The HSFP will provide food concessioners at over 75 national parks with the tools and resources to ensure that visitors will have an abundance of healthy food options. Here are some healthy foods you can expect to find at some national parks:

Yellowstone National Park

Wyoming, Idaho and Montana

  • · Montana-grown lentil and split pea soup
  • · Lamb and grass-fed beef from local ranches

Grand Canyon South Rim

Grand Canyon, Arizona

  • · Vegetarian meal options
  • · French fries can be substituted with fruits and vegetables
  • · Garden vegetable pasta
  • · Veggie wrap

Muir Woods

Mill Valley, California

  • · Free-range, hormone-free chicken
  • · Organic muffins
  • · Fresh tomato soup

Sources:

“Healthy parks and healthy foods,” National Park Service web site; http://www.nps.gov/commercialservices/news_healthy_food_launch.htm, last accessed June 5, 2013.

Hellmich, N., “National parks dishing up healthier fare this summer,” USA Today web site; http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/06/05/national-parks-healthier-foods/2385867/, last accessed June 5, 2013.

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