National Park Service to offer healthy food choices

As part of the presentation, the Nationals Parks offered a sampling of what park patrons can expect in some areas. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
A spread of the healthy foods that might soon be available in National Parks as part of a nutritionally-driven initative. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
Members of the press, and attendees of the presentation taste some of the healthy foods that the National Parks Service plans to include on its menus. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
As part of the presentation, the Nationals Parks offered a sampling of what park patrons can expect in some areas. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
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WASHINGTON – The table has been set to offer healthy food choices, including locally-grown sustainable foods to visitors at the country’s 75 national parks.

At a sun-splashed ceremony near the Lincoln Memorial, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis signed new rules for the 250 restaurants, snack bars and stores in the parks including the National Mall, the C&O Canal and Shenandoah National Park.

“There’s no reason to take a vacation from eating well when you visit a national park,” Jarvis says.

The Park Service guidelines require concessions — all privately operated — to offer items like vegetables and fruit, low fat foods and non-sugary drinks.

“Sweet potato cakes, bison sloppy joes, black bean sliders, fish tacos and all those kinds of things,” Jarvis says.

The reality is that many of the concessions at national parks are already offering healthy food options.

“It’s a trend in America to eat more local to eat more healthy,” Jarvis says.

“This is part of the president’s commitment to health and well-being,” adds, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

But healthy food choices won’t replace old standbys like hot dogs and burgers.

“We are not imposing that you can only eat healthy foods when you go to our national parks,” Jarvis says.

The Park Service says the healthy foods will supplement regular menu items.

“Now you can decide if you want the fries or the fruit,” suggests Kathy Kupper, public affairs officer for the National Park Service.

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