National Parks to Offer Healthier Food Choices

Healthy options are cropping up at national park eateries thanks to the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program.
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photo by Crystal Sagan

photo by Crystal Sagan

Healthy options are cropping up at national park eateries thanks to the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program launched last week. With the initiative, the National Park Service aims to offer nutritious and often organic and locally grown options on park menus.

“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 will not be prohibitive, but rather will be “affordable to all Americans,” he said.

The NPS has worked with park concessionaires to broaden the healthy options. Among the new menu choices available to the roughly 23 million individuals who eat in the parks each year will be “lentil soup, bison hot dogs, grass-fed beef, black-bean sliders, fish tacos, fresh tomato soup and produce from local farms,” reported the USA Today.

But don’t fret, those with a sweet tooth only ice cream can curb or a hankering for a hot dog will not be disappointed. Both options will still be available.

The initiative is a way to encourage vacationers to go for healthy food options since they’ve already chosen an active vacation.

"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,” Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told USA Today. “But if the food isn't healthy, you may come back one or two pounds heavier and never lose it."

Robert Anderson, a chef with Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts at Yosemite points out that before and after being active in the park, people want nutritional options.

"You get in this grand surrounding, and you're inspired to eat healthfully,” he said. “You don't want to eat chips; you want good fuel."

For more specific information, check out the NPS’s standards and guidelines.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/06/05/national-parks-healthier-foods/2385867/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/05/national-park-service-healthy-food_n_3391500.html?utm_hp_ref=green