Healthy food at national parks

06/13/2013

Food like fish tacos and yogurt parfaits will now be offered as part of the National Park Service’s new Healthy & Sustainable Food Program guidelines for incorporating healthy foods in its national parks. Hot dogs and ice cream, however, can remain. Effective now, all new concession contracts and contracts up for renewal at national, state and local parks must meet the new standards, which include offering at least one vegetarian and one non-vegetarian entrée each containing fewer than 800 calories, less than 30-percent fat and no more than 140 milligrams of sodium per 100 grams of food. The program also gives soft guidelines for sourcing fair trade, organic, seasonal and locally grown foods, which park spokesperson Kathy Kupper said could be difficult for parks in remote areas like Alaska. Ms. Kupper cited the café at Muir Woods, with its vegan soups and compostable cutlery made from potatoes, as a park that has drawn visitors for the food first. Walking the trail is secondary. Ms. Kupper said park director Jon Jarvis met Chez Panisse chef Alice Waters in his time as director of the Pacific West Region and was inspired to prioritize healthful food when he took the service’s highest office in 2009.