nutritious, you’re in luck since they stock healthful food
within an arm’s reach. Not only are there bananas, oranges
and apples, but you’ll find Rhythm Superfoods’ Broccoli
Bites—one of my favorite snacks.
• If you’re in Indianapolis, visit the new Ricker’s locations.
Whereas stores like Sheetz and Wawa sell practically
everything, Ricker’s has narrowly tailored their focus to do
specific things very, very well. Their made-to-order options
are limited to the sort of food you might find at Chipotle,
but the quality is unparalleled—the best I’ve ever had at a
c-store. And while I’ve yet to acquire the taste of coffee, it
didn’t escape my attention that their self-serve machines
look almost identical to what I’ve seen in Caribou Coffee
and Starbucks—fresh-ground beans and all.
• Every Love’s Travel Stop offers fresh fruit and veggies
in 12-ounce plastic containers. They’re usually packed
on ice near the register, and I’ve seen everything from
carrots, cucumbers and celery, to watermelon, cantaloupe and pineapple.
• Kwik Trip locations are similar to small grocery stores,
and I’m such a fan that I made a You Tube video about my
visit to one in Marshalltown, Iowa. Stopping by for a quick
meal on your lunch break? I bought a turkey sandwich
that came on cranberry rice bread, and I’ve also had
broccoli and cheddar soup. Or perhaps you’re leaving work
and need something quick for dinner. They sell frozen
salmon fillets, ground beef, milk, eggs and a large assortment of fresh produce. One store in Cedar Rapids carries
almost 20 types of fruit and vegetables—everything from
avocados and onions to bananas and nectarines. And my
conversations with customers confirmed that they do, in
fact, view Kwik Trip as a viable alternative to the grocery
store; it’s more convenient.
• Kum & Go sells many of the traditional and—dare I say it—
unhealthy options that we all know and love, but alongside
those are more healthful choices. I can get a grilled chicken
and ciabatta sandwich that comes in at just over 300
calories. And for breakfast, they have a low-calorie English
muffin with egg whites, turkey sausage and cheese.
• After my recent presentation to independent c-store
owners at the Harbor Wholesale Foods 2016 Summit, I
spent an hour with Kent Couch at his Stop N Go store
in Bend, Oregon. We all know Kent for his absolutely
phenomenal growler-filling operation—which offers
more than 35 types of craft beer—but he also has
around 15 types of kombucha on tap, and my breakfast
burrito was cooked fresh at the store. It looked and
tasted similar to the ones I make in my own kitchen.
And that’s the point: Whether it’s a state-of-the-art
Sheetz location or a smaller, independent operation, there’s
a common thread that unites the best c-stores: quality.
I don’t go out of my way to visit Sheetz and Ricker’s
because they’re the biggest, the fanciest and have the most
upscale buildings; I go there because they sell high-quality
products. It’s the same reason I’d drive an extra 10 or 15
minutes to visit Kent Couch’s store. No matter how big or
small a store may be, quality matters.
It’s been a fascinating journey. I began this experiment motivated solely by the desire to prove a point about
healthy living, and I’ve since become immersed in an
industry that, I believe, is on the forefront of innovation in
this area and works hard to serve its customers.
Convenience stores have a real opportunity to help people
live healthy lives. If each of us does our part, then I believe
we can finally dispel the negative stereotypes and prove,
once and for all, that eating out really can be healthy.
Frank Beard is a speaker, fitness and health writer, and
advocate for healthful c-store food choices. For more
about Frank visit FrankBeard.org.
This Ricker’s near Indianapolis made one of the most delicious meals that I’ve ever had at a convenience
store. Everything about this store is awesome. they sell fresh fruit, healthy snacks, and even have self-serve
frozen yogurt machines. Did I mention that I like Ricker’s? :)
Love’s Travel Centers are always a great place to find healthy food. I like how the fruit and veggies in the
“fresh to go” cups vary from store to store. Makes it exciting! #lovestravelstop #toledo