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Healthy Options at Your Next Food Stop


As road trip season is underway, now is an opportune time to venture beyond fast food and bagged sandwich offerings commonly found at rest stops.

The Chicago Food Stop on the Magnificent Mile features products from local restaurants and retailers like Brown Sugar Bakery, Here Here Market, Kikwetu Coffee, and Fat Milk. This pop-up will remain open through March 2023.

Take & Bake Empanadas

Empanadas have become integral to culinary traditions across numerous cultures for their rich history and delicious taste. Baked or fried, these pastry or bread pockets cradle various ingredients within their tender embrace – satisfying savory bites to sweet indulgences depending on size and ingredient selection. However, their high-fat levels and caloric content may lead to weight gain or heart problems when consumed excessively; eating moderately alongside healthy options provides delicious ways to satisfy cravings while adding mealtime enjoyment.

Empanada crusts typically contain large amounts of carbohydrates and fat; however, their fillings contain significant sources of protein, micronutrients, fiber, and lean proteins like poultry or chicken are an ideal choice as fillings, while vegetables and legumes provide essential vitamins and minerals, adding calcium-rich foods like cheese or leafy greens also increases the overall nutritional value of these delectable treats.

Making homemade empanadas requires using a stand mixer to mix dry and wet dough ingredients for best results, then form golf-ball-sized pieces of dough onto a flat surface and roll each circle (leaving room around its edges so you can seal later) before filling the center of each round with your chosen filling, folding over and pinching together its sides securely to form empanadas.

Homemade Chilis

Homemade chili is an easy meal to prep ahead and freeze and offers endless customization possibilities to meet varying dietary needs – meat-lovers can create their own meaty or vegetarian chilis, while vegan varieties make great vegetarian or vegan versions to enjoy with rice or pasta dishes for dinner parties! Plus, it will bring warmth right from within when brought along! Bring it along next time you attend potlucks or casual gatherings and feel better from within!

Chili recipes vary by region, but most include ground beef or its equivalent, peppers, onions, spices, and beans along with some form of tomato product – including using fewer tomato products altogether, while Cincinnati chili calls for a thick stew-like consistency due to a tomato paste base.

Make chili the old-fashioned way: with an authentic spice blend instead of store-bought varieties. Such blends often combine dried and powdered spices and additional ingredients like salt and MSG (which has been linked with headaches in some people).

Add vegetables to your meal to increase its nutritional value, from fiber-rich veggies such as carrots and bell peppers to cubed sweet potatoes and winter squash for more flavor and nutritional benefits.

Healthy Options

Food stops have begun providing healthy options for eating on the go – from fresh fruit and veggies, nuts and seeds, made-to-order meals, and breakfast items like eggs and milk for busy travelers.

Frank Beard of GasBuddy analyst/evangelist noted the industry has undergone a significant transformation from “vice to nice.” With healthier offerings now readily available at convenience stores, they have become destinations for healthful meals. Evans highlights how variety in menu offerings is crucial: some customers may need to avoid specific allergens or regulate sugar intake, while others seek high protein and fiber-rich options.

East Carolina University Pediatric Healthy Weight Research and Treatment Center’s new visual guide designed to assist clients in understanding the options is an easy way to navigate them effectively. The guide features a simple stoplight system that indicates when something should be considered an anytime choice, occasionally enjoyed, or as an occasional treat – download your copy free here.

Order Online

Stop & Shop has been making an impactful statement about its commitment to the community for over 100 years, providing fresh, healthy options at great value while offering convenient services such as online ordering and same-day pickup. In addition, Stop & Shop actively works against hunger while supporting troops overseas as well as investing in pediatric cancer research; additionally, they have recently joined Flashfood (an innovative digital marketplace that dramatically reduces food waste by connecting consumers with discounted items nearing expiry), allowing consumers to connect directly with discounted product nearing its best by date) with over 60 New York stores now participating.