Lessons On Road Food: READ THE INGREDIENTS!!!


So on a recent trip to DC, I stopped on the way down for some road food. See, I had carefully packed a couple of great meals to bring with me, knowing that I would get hungry. Being a bit out of the habit of the road-trip, however, I had completely forgotten that, as the driver, I would need my meals to be easy to eat! The delightful roast turkey, arugula, toasted carrots, raw leeks, and hazelnut oil salad that I had prepared was going to have to wait until I completely my driving.

So I pulled in to a rest area, carefully evaluating my options. I didn’t go for the McDonald’s, which is really not a hard one to ignore for me… I skipped the Starbucks. Something about having to pay 1.09 for the banana irks me to the point of never walking in their stores. Not to mention that Starbucks coffee is all burnt to the point of almost being caramelized, but not quite (and no, Dunkin’ Doughnuts is no better!). Fortunately, most rest areas these days have some sort of convenience store, or what they’re calling a “Market”. I went straight to the “Healthy Snacks” rack, thinking I would find something there to keep me happy. But no. That one has grains. And that one. And that one. Does that one have… Yup. That one too. A ha! I found one!


Read The Ingredients

Well, following my absolute rule of food, I flipped the package over to take a quick peak at the ingredients label. “See ingredients under flap” had punched the packaging machinery on the packet. Really…? That’s a little suspicious. I mean, it’s almonds, honey, sea salt, and cranberries… What could you possibly be hiding in there? I really don’t mind if I find out that there’s a lot of carbs – I mean, glazing the almonds is a calorie intensive process. I’ve already picked you up… Ok, let’s take a look.


Ok, that seems like a lot of ingredients for what appeared to be a health snack. Let’s take a closer look. It’s got sugar, organic evaporated cane juice, honey powder, rice starch, organic tapioca syrup, brown sugar, orange blossom honey, and natural honey flavor. Is that… 8 different sweeteners? I would have been fine with sugar and honey… But 8 sweeteners? For this otherwise simple package of what appeared to be healthy food? What is going on here?!?

Well, I don’t really have an answer for you. But I do have a solution. Do what I did: buy the banana. Keep your food choices simple. If you look at a package and see things that you didn’t expect in the ingredients list, put it down. There’s no compromise with your health. Don’t compromise with your food.

And next time: bring your own bananas…

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0 thoughts on “Lessons On Road Food: READ THE INGREDIENTS!!!

  • comebackmommajenn

    Interesting. With them seeming like “healthy” sugars, I probably would have eaten the snack. I will choose the banana next time. 🙂

    • urbanpaleochef

      I look at it as a “feedback” situation. If I don’t buy the snack, that’s a little less money that the industry gets for making 8xsugar coated almonds. If the industry gets less money, it will respond to the things that I do buy instead.
      And I was just so incensed that what should have been a simple snack was overly processed, and with things that I don’t want.

  • stmwhittemore

    Paleo has made me a crazy label reader!! I read labels on EVERYTHING, which is annoying to everyone around me, but so important to me. I hear ya– just because it’s called “healthy” doesn’t mean it’s made from healthful ingredients

    I read labels before I eat anything and if it has more than a handful of ingredients, I don’t even bother reading the rest!

    I bring my own snacks almost everywhere I go and if I’m really crunched, I get juice or nuts that aren’t coated in sugar and junk, if I can find it!

    • urbanpaleochef

      That’s the key: bring your own snacks! I was annoyed – and if I hadn’t been a little tired, I would have just fasted and been fine. In fact, I probably forgot to bring a snack because I was tired – which was what made me need to head in and get one!
      Keep up the label-reading; it’s saved me from otherwise bad decisions more than once!