One of the things that concerned me most about traveling through the United States was its total and complete lack of good, healthy, quick food.
I realize that much has been written and discussed about the state of American’s eating habits and the general obesity problem we seem to have. After visiting seven states over two weeks (and passing through a few others) I can safely say that it is hard–nigh on impossible–to eat well while traveling across the country. By eating well, I mean eating fruits and vegetables, or any low-fat, high energy foods. To come across foods that fall into even one of those categories costs money, precious time and energy to do. Healthy ‘food on the go’ is not something America does well. Or at all.
This is just another situation that made me aware how America is different from NYC. In New York you can grab a healthy snack–be it a piece of fruit, a fresh juice or smoothie, or even salt-free raw nuts and sugar free granola bars–for not very much money on almost every corner.
On the road, it was hard to find unsalted peanuts, unsweetened granola bars, sugar-free yogurt, and almost impossible to find a piece of fruit or any vegetables. As my father said, ‘nothing is alive’.
As I mentioned in one of my earliest posts, Ireland takes top prize when it comes to snacking options; crisps are much better here, as are all the options for sweets and chocolate. I realize this does not fall into the healthy eating options, but Dublin does do a good job making healthy options available and easy to find. I may be more tempted by the better choices of the bad stuff here, but I can always find something, for not too much money, that’s alive and a healthy option.
It’s been over ten years since I’ve done a big road trip in Ireland, and I can’t remember if the Irish have the same problem we do: once you are out of an urban area it is harder to eat well. Seeing as though a road trip is a very American thing to do, I would have thought something other than McDonald’s (or similar) would be available.
Living in New York had led me to believe that American’s were working towards being healthy, on the go and at home. Being on the go and out of the big city proved I was wrong. That’s my big New York mindset getting in the way again.