You can now sip on La Croix and slurp your way through a vegan noodle bowl—but there's a small catch.
As anyone who has ever traveled on an Amtrak route can tell you, on-board dining options are nothing to write home about—especially if you are looking for something remotely healthy.
So it seems long overdue that the nation's largest passenger railroad service has overhauled its on-board dining services with brand new snacks and meals, including a few vegan and gluten-free options.
The new café car menu was unveiled last week on the Acela Express, a high-speed train that travels between Washington, D.C., and Boston, and the Northeast Regional. Amtrak partnered with deli brand Boar's Head, but they are serving a variety of healthier brands to passengers, including SkinnyPop, Sahale Snacks, and KIND. Oh, and you can now guzzle lime-flavored La Croix ($3 a pop) during your travels, too.
The prepared meals are getting an upgrade as well. There's an Asian scallion and peanut noodle bowl, which is a vegan option served with sesame ginger vinaigrette; a grilled chicken Caesar salad, which is served atop a bed of kale and quinoa; and a low-fat vanilla yogurt and blueberry parfait, swirled with cinnamon pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and whole grain oat granola.
Amtrak hasn't released the nutritional information for these items as of yet, but compared to a DiGiorno's branded thick-crust cheese pizza, we're thinking these items are probably the better choice. Most of these meals are priced at $9 each.
Unfortunately, most of these better-for-you foods are only available on the Acela and Northeast Corridor routes at the moment. A few items have also been added to the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited lines as well, says Beth Toll, public relations manager for Amtrak. But Amtrak will gauge feedback and sales response from customers before deciding to expand items to all of its 40 plus national routes.
Eating healthy while traveling has become increasingly tough—especially when it comes to prepared meals doled out by carriers themselves. In April, the FDA issued a warning letter to one of the largest meal providers for airline passengers after discovering numerous shockingly unsanitary conditions in the company's commercial kitchens across the country.
The travel industry is investing more in catering in the hopes that better-curated meals will pay off in customer loyalty in the end, according to Forbes—and Amtrak is now part of that growing movement.
The prospect of spending hours on a train just got way better thanks to gluten-free snacks, lighter meals, and a ice-cold La Croix—but if you're looking for more snack hacks for travel this summer, click here.