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Put That French Fry Down!

Gary Lee

As Americans take their growing appetites for healthy foods on the road, many hotels and restaurants are responding by offering more items that are organically grown, raised on sustainable farms or locally produced. Although many folks view vacations as good opportunities to get away from tofu and indulge (greasy burgers and mikshakes are big in resort areas, you know) those of you who put a high premium on healthy meals don't have to look far these days.

Several popular hotel chains are rolling out new, healthier eating options. Examples:

* On Sept. 1, Wyndham is introducing Fields & Sun, a breakfast program featuring high-quality ingredients. This will be a New Age response to your bacon, egg and muffin fix, and it'll be available in all Wyndham hotels and resorts.

* Recently, Omni Hotels (a Texas group that includes D.C.'s Omni Shoreham) began featuring a revamped breakfast menu highlighted by cage-free eggs, organic shade-grown Mexican coffee and all-natural pork products, among other healthy offerings. The "Art of Breakfast" program is offered at all Omni properties.

* Not long ago, Xanterra Parks & Resorts Inc., which caters for the major dining spots in Yellowstone and Grand Canyon national parks, began building its menus around organic or locally grown products. The changed led to an increase in food costs of around 2 percent, which has resulted in higher menu prices, according to Xanterra.

In the very likely case that travelers want to get out of the hotel to eat, there's also good news. They can log onto a new Web site, www.healthydiningfinder.com, to locate a restaurant near their destination with healthy menu options. Restaurants nationwide are listed on the site. In some cases, it's possible to identify the most healthy menu items from the Web site before you show up at the restaurant.

These steps are all in response to rising public interest in safer, less fatty foods. Still, it's still unclear how many travelers will choose a hotel or restaurant because of the healthy food options.

What say ye? Prefer to go for the milkshake and cheesesteak or eat something healthier? Willing to pay more for organic or sustainable products? Have you discovered any place on the road lately that features healthy meals?

By Gary Lee |  August 10, 2007; 10:08 AM ET  | Category:  Dining , Gary Lee
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I understand the need to eat healthy but if you're in Belgium and don't avail yourself of the local chocolate, waffles, and pomme frites, you're not experiencing Belgium!

Posted by: rockville | August 10, 2007 11:53 AM

Mmmm, milkshake and cheesesteak!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 10, 2007 11:54 AM

Lee,
Have you looked at www.healthydiningfinder.com? When I spot checked the nutritional analysis of a couple restaurants (mostly chains) listed for my area, I found less than healthy listings : a 4000+ mg sodium dish on Macaroni Grill's listings, and all the dishes listed on PF Chang's listed "n/a" under sodium - I wonder why ; )Furthermore one of the other chains listed was using the site a pure advertisement, with NO nutritional analyses of any of its offerings(remember the entire premise of the website is HEALTHY options).

I am not impressed!

Posted by: joe63 | August 15, 2007 3:29 PM

I just checked your site for places in San Francisco and came up with chain burger places and such. Surely you could do better in San Francisco on almost any corner. Perhaps your site is new, but I think you should just leave it blank until you come up with real choices.

Posted by: Ann | August 15, 2007 9:51 PM

Looks like healthydiningfinder.com lists restaurants for a fee. If so, they're probably not the only site to do so.

Posted by: TT | August 15, 2007 10:09 PM

Just returned from Paris where the Hilton hotel was relentless in its healthy eating campaign. Breakfast tables had long cards identifying choices for a hard day's sightseeing, vs a relaxing day. Yes, they offered the full range of choclate chip croissants, etc., but there was also a bank of yoghurts and fresh fruit options, lean meat and cheeses. The dinner menu also identified low fat, low sodium, heart healthy choices. The room service menu was also in your face with text about eating healthy. Imagine! in the land of rich sauces and sinful desserts...at least a word to the wise.

Posted by: ccl | August 21, 2007 10:01 AM

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