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Book Gives Tips for
Healthy Road Trip Food

If you're road-tripping this summer, chances are you'll end up at one of those nondescript highway rest stops that serve mainly juicy burgers, greasy fries and syrupy soft drinks. But the way food gurus Nikki and David Goldbeck see it, travel is no excuse for eating badly.

The couple, who penned several nutrition books including the 1973 best seller "The Supermarket Handbook," like to avoid the fast food chains that dot the nation's interstates whenever they drive from their Woodstock home to the warmth of Florida's Miami Beach every winter.

Although many places now offer salads and healthier options like fresh fruit, the Goldbecks often find the menu selections too limited for their vegetarian taste. For years, they scoured the Yellow Pages for vegetarian-friendly restaurants, and even kept a folder of old newspaper clippings of restaurant reviews in their car.

The Goldbecks recently compiled their favorite eateries, along with other listings discovered through their own research or recommended by other health-conscious travelers, into a new book aimed at giving travelers a nutritious alternative.

"Healthy Highways: The Traveler's Guide to Healthy Eating" lists about 2,000 health-oriented restaurants and natural food stores in the 50 states — all easily accessible from the exit ramp of a highway or a major road. Telephone numbers and hours of operation are also included.

While the book can help steer travelers toward more nutritious food, health experts say those on the road can also take their own simple steps toward healthy eating by planning ahead.

"You don't need to find a specific restaurant to find healthy offerings," said Tara Geise, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "If you follow some basic principles, you can find healthy food pretty much anywhere you go."

For example, on long trips, take the time to pack a cooler with sandwiches and snacks like fruit and yogurt. At rest stops, keep portion size in mind and avoid overindulging on junk food. If an entree on a menu looks unfamiliar, ask for its nutritional content before ordering.

When traveling in the summer, keep an eye out for roadside fruit and vegetable stands that offer the chance to stock the cooler with locally grown produce like Georgia peaches, Geise said.

All the entries in the Goldbecks' book are vegetarian-friendly, but not all are meat-free. The listings range from health food chains to independent owners, from organic style to fresh home-cooking, from juice bars to sit-down restaurants.

The majority are located a few miles off the highway, but others like the natural food chain Fresh City, which sells fresh-to-order salad wraps and stir-fry bowls, can be found along several stops on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The Goldbecks admit the book is not all-inclusive and revisions and additions of new listings are made on a Web site dedicated to the book. They choose the eateries through their experience and also by mailing out 4,000 questionnaires to restaurants and natural food stores. The list was pared down after they studied menus and made follow-up contact.

According to Nikki Goldbeck, a 57-year-old nutritionist, there are other perks to straying from rest stop food.

"Aside from getting better food, part of traveling is to get the community experience," she explained. "You get to meet local people and experience what the neighborhood is like."


On the Net:

Goldbecks' book:

Reference Source 102



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