A road trip is often an excuse to eat like crap. You’ll stop at a fast food place, buy candy and soda at a gas station, and cram handfuls of chips into your mouth to pass the time. All of the values and guidelines you follow in your normal life kind of get left by the wayside: after all, you’re not at home, you haven’t reached your destination yet, you’re not really anywhere—and that’s part of the fun of it.
But when you start to think about the tons and tons of junk food being consumed daily by all of your fellow drivers and passengers on the multi-lane highway, and look at the pile of trash amassing in your car as you drive by yet another McDonald’s, it all starts to feel a bit yucky. No?
Here’s an idea for those of you looking for an alternative to the junk food road trip: the Eat Well Guide Travel Map helps you access local, sustainable, and organic food, wherever you’re going. Just plug in your route, and it’ll show you stores, restaurants, food co-ops, and farms along the way that are much more environmentally and socially responsible than whatever you’d find at a normal rest area. Some of the listings—like caterers, CSAs, and online shopping—are not so useful for road trippers, but they can be easily filtered out.
Another easy way to improve your on-the-road eating habits is to bring your own food, of course. I’ve eaten many a peanut butter and jelly sandwich made in the trunk of a car, and passed around plenty of communal containers of leftover pasta in shopping plaza parking lots. It may be even more fun than hanging out in those gas station stores.