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After our night at Chico Hot Springs, we followed the family south into Yellowstone National Park. We’ve visited the park enough times to know that our food options are limited… restaurants accompany all the main attractions and packaged foods are readily available, but look for fresh produce and you might be searching quite a while.
It’s best to plan ahead and stock up on food before you enter the park. Lunch is easy enough if you’ve got a cooler. To save money and eat well, we packed healthy snacks like carrot sticks, apples, cheese, and homemade trail mix.
We had a little more difficulty when we were looking for something hot to eat for dinner. A last-minute change in plans left us wandering West Yellowstone (just outside the west entrance) looking for something to eat for dinner. Prices are high and vegetarian fare is hard to find, but we settled on some noodle soup from a Chinese place and a couple tacos from another restaurant across the street.
The next day we passed back through the park on our way to Wyoming. Stopping at a gift shop and grocery in Grant Village, we were surprised to find they offered potatoes, onions, and bananas at a good price, as well as organic grapes and local wines. They even had stickers denoting some locally sourced products. So there is good food in Yellowstone!
I went online to find out more about this exciting new development. As it turns out, we arrived just in time – the National Parks Service announced in June that they are launching an effort to bring healthier fare to the national parks.
In Yellowstone, select restaurants will use Montana-grown lentils and split-peas, as well as lamb and grass-fed beef from local ranchers. Food vendors at parks all around the nation are being encouraged to source locally and add health-conscious options to their menus.
We’re proud of our parks for their natural beauty and for the wildlife that call these places home. Now the experience can come full-circle when we also pay tribute for the nourishing food that the land provides. Next time we visit a National Park we’ll pay closer attention to the food that’s available and show our support for good food wherever we find it!