KC Eats: Part 2 + How to Eat Healthy on the Road

Picking up where I left off yesterday


A gorgeous view of the KC cityscape from our hotel window.

Saturday, we were up early, grabbed some fruit and a bagel from Einstein Bros. Bagels (conveniently located in Crown Center, right next to our hotel), and made our way to the tournament for the last day of play.

Einstein Bfast

9 grain bagel + fresh fruit + my usual nanner

My sister’s team ended up taking 3rd place in their division so we headed out for another late lunch to celebrate. I had read and heard a lot about Grinders, a KC classic serving pizza, sandwiches, and beer, so we set out on foot in search of it. Thanks to a city map, we quickly found it, just a few blocks off our walk back to the hotel.


I ordered the turkey club on wheat berry bread with fresh fruit and shared some of my mom’s fries. The sandwich was loaded with turkey and was excellent. The fruit on the other hand…not so much, as it was tossed with cilantro! I hate cilantro (I feel like it’s one of those things you either love or despise) and would have never expected it to show up on my fresh fruit. It didn’t say anything about it on the menu and I tried to pick it off the blueberries, grapes, strawberries, and mango, but the taste was still there. Bleeech. Now that I think about it I wished I would have asked to send it back and get one without the cilantro..oh well I snagged a few bites of my sister’s ‘funky dough” which was a thin and crispy pizza crust topped with seasonings and a plethora of cheese to make up for it. The marinara sauce it was served with was out of this world – it was spiced perfectly and a bit differently than normal marinara, but I couldn’t exactly put my finger on what made it stand out. If I were to go to Grinders again, I definitely go the pizza route.

cilantro fruit KC

Turkey club + cilantro-fied fruit + unpictured stolen fries and funky dough

After our late lunch, we were exhausted and just wanted to head back to the hotel for a nap. On our way back we found Bob Jone’s, a shoe store, and, my mom and me being shoe lovers, just had to stop in to browse (sorry Dad). I almost bought a new pair of Birks, but was able to resist. Definitely one of the largest shoe stores I’ve ever been in.

After a bit of a siesta we checked out the rest of the Crown Center shops. We ended up finding a cute little candy store which promptly induced a salt water taffy craving that I just had to satisfy. We then took a tour of the Hallmark Card visitor center which was actually very interesting (who knew that such a thing existed!) and walked around the World War I monument – such gorgeous views of the downtown cityscape from the top! We also walked around Union Station again, caught a water fountain show set to the tune of an orchestra song, and soaked up the final rays of sunlight.

Jen and Dad KC

The Daddio and I loving the spring tulips!

KC piano

Union Station

WWI memorial 2 KC

World War I Memorial

Our initial plan for the evening was to take the car to explore some of the other areas of KC (out of walking distance) and get some authentic KC BBQ, but I wound up with a killer headache and we just decided to stay in and eat at one of the restaurants at The Crown Center. We split a sandwich from Spin! as an ‘appetizer’ and then moved on to the ‘main’ course: ice cream. As my mom would say, “when in KC, eat ice cream for dinner!” She’s the same mom who has the rule that every front row parking spot earns you an ice cream cone. 😉 There was a Sheridan’s, which serves Missouri ‘s best frozen custard (so I guess technically it wasn’t ice cream, but just as equally delicious) at Crown Center so we just grabbed some custard and brought it back up to our room to enjoy. I said go big or go home and got a chocolate concrete loaded with caramel and cookie-dough that absolutely hit the spot. I was so excited to dig in, that snapping a photo was the last thing on my mind, but picture a Culver’s concrete mixer – only better.

We crashed hard again, and woke up to another long day of travel.

We had Einstein and the last of our packed fruit for breakfast again, and then we hit the road.

We ended up stopping in Des Moines at a Ruby Tuesday’s to pig out on their aaaahmazing salad bar – it’s my favorite. They even had grapes on it here! I’m not usually a big fan of going to chain restaurant places when traveling, but there’s not a Ruby Tuesday’s anywhere near Madison, so when my mom suggested searching for one on our route home, I couldn’t say no. Plus, after a weekend away from home I was craving my veggies.

I ended up getting what I always get, the Veggie Trio, which consists of three sides of your choice + the endless salad bar or a cup of soup. I obviously got the salad bar, and after much deliberation, ended up choosing spaghetti squash, broccoli, and a baked potato for my sides. Veggie overload that hit the spot.


It may not look the best, but it was delicious and definitely filled the veggie void I was feeling!

I wanted to hit up the Baskin Robbins in Des Moines after lunch (since I have never, ever been to one), but realized that it was like a half-hour drive back through the city the way we came, so we just hit the road. Poor planning on my part. I did enjoy a few pieces of my saltwater taffy for dessert though 🙂

After a few more hours, I was finally back to my dorm, sweet, dorm in Madison where I quickly devoured a PB&J, unpacked my suitcase, and hit the hay.

T’was a very fun, active (pretty sure we walked over 10 miles each day – oofta), and enjoyable long weekend. It was great to spend some time with my parents and to be able to see my sister play. KC was a very cool city and I’d love the opportunity to go back and do some more exploring!

sister vb

Sister-Sister 🙂

As you can see, we came prepared and packed some healthy snack and food options, but also enjoyed some KC indulgences (hellooo sweet tater fries + frozen custard)! Sounds like the perfect balance to me! Read on below for some more of my tips for maintaining healthy habits away from home!

How to Eat Well on the Road:

  • Eat like a local. Research the area before you arrive to find out about the best healthy, yet delicious eats. I did some research before our trip and knew I wanted to check out Grinders, City Market, and the KC Farmers’ Market. Or, ask locals for their suggestion. I am a big advocate for eating like a local and avoiding big name chains when traveling – I just want to get the full experience! Note: franchises def have their time and place though and can offer some great healthy options when you just need to grab something quick and convenient —> case in point: our Einstein and Subway stops.
  • Plan to eat out one or two main meals a day with snacks/packed meals in between. Now I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but it works for us. We have never been a ‘three-square meals a day’ kind of family and usually like to do a late lunch (or lupper, lunch + supper, as we like to call it) and then grab something smaller or eat what we have packed when we get hungry again. For us, it’s all about being spontaneous on vacation and not having to adhere to a strict schedule!
  • Pack snacks and healthy food options like fruit, veggies, cheese, whole grain crackers, nuts, granola bars, etc. We brought carrots, mini bell peppers, cauliflower, cubed cantaloupe, grapes, oranges, and bananas, along with cheese for slicing, cheese curds (swoon!), a few boxes of crackers and pretzels, nuts, Wheat Chex, and Kashi granola bars. We also packed some soda, water, and beer so we wouldn’t have to buy our own.
  • Indulge mindfully. Enjoy what the area has to offer (when else could I eat Sheridan’s custard for dinner?!), but don’t use vacation as an excuse to pig out and completely falling off the wagon.

Where was your last road trip to?

What are your favorite snacks to pack for a road trip?

Have any tips to share with me?!


2 thoughts on “KC Eats: Part 2 + How to Eat Healthy on the Road

  1. Olivia Bane says:

    Awesome tips! I like packing some less calorie-dense foods like grapes and popcorn for road trips so when I’m feeling snacky, I can eat lots of them 🙂

    And on a sidenote, why would they toss fruit with cilantro?! Blech!


    • Jenni says:

      Ooh I love popcorn. And you’re right, it is a great (whole grain!) snack for when you just want something to munch on! We brought grapes too – I have been on a grape kick for the past few months. Are you a red or green grape fan? I like both!


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