Keep on Food Truckin’

Take a ride on the healthy side of food trucks

By Catherine Miller

Cavette Chambers enjoys a healthy chicken option from Ted’s Hot Dogs in downtown Buffalo.
Cavette Chambers enjoys a healthy chicken option from Ted’s Hot Dogs in downtown Buffalo.

What do Niagara Square, Roswell Park Institute, Buffalo History Museum, The Amberleigh, and most local neighborhood farmers markets have in common?

They are venues where you are likely to find legions of food trucks that have settled into the Western New York area in the past few summers. And what better time? When the activity schedules of families grow to include baseball practices, summer jobs, and stay-cations, there are times when cooking in a kitchen is just not top on your priority list on a sunshine-filled summer eve.

But is eating from a food truck the best food choice when you are watching your summer waistline? It can be.

More than two dozen food trucks have taken to the roads in the area and are each equipped with at least a few healthy choices to make eating on the run both healthy and handy.

“I like going to the food trucks because they are convenient,” admits Cavette Chambers, one of the many busy downtown Buffalo workers that enjoys the accessibility of the Thursday afternoon Niagara Square food trucks. “They come to us.”

Chambers lists the grilled chicken and tomato sandwich on a gluten-free roll from Ted’s Hot Dogs as one of her favorites.

“I also enjoy the grilled fish and chicken options at the Flaming Fish truck,” added Chambers. “You can ask for corn shells for a gluten-free option, or ask them to make your meal as a salad.”

There are many reasons for healthy alternatives available to the food truck community. Most truck owners realize that their customer base is health-conscious. Then there are community event organizers like Independent Health that work food trucks into their events and venues, providing they offer healthy alternative options. For still other truck owners, being healthy is just a way of life.

One of the newest trucks to hit the Buffalo streets is The Healthy Scratch, a brainchild of Jessie and Kelly Pegula.

Healthy food on the go

Kristina Black, general manager of The Healthy Scratch food truck, said she believes in the quality and benefits of organic and clean eating, and the business has been welcomed into the Buffalo area with open arms.

Food truck just outside City Hall, during a recent Thursday Food Truck Rodeo.
Food truck just outside City Hall, during a recent Thursday Food Truck Rodeo.

“Many people appreciate the healthy options and the speed of the grab-and-go selections,” Black said. “It was our mission in launching this truck to bring the healthy food options to the community, and the people have been appreciative of the opportunity to pursue healthy living.”

Black lists the High Key smoothie as one of the most popular items. With cold brew coffee, banana, cacao powder, chia seeds and almond milk, it packs a great mid-day health punch. The turkey cranberry almond wrap is another favorite and is one of the many grab-and-go options, along with other smoothies, wraps, salads, overnight oats and cold-pressed juices.

While The Healthy Scratch is one of the new Buffalo food trucks this year, there are many others, and they are found in shopping plazas and area events. Each has its own unique menu, and many assist patrons in making a healthy meal selection. They will also improvise items as needed for a patron’s dietary restrictions.

While you can get something as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich or slice of pizza, more exotic food choices include pickled eggs on a bed of greens from the Asian Gourmet, and shrimp jambalaya from the Louisiana Cookery. The food trucks that have entered our area bring a world of foods that can be enjoyed by the most health-conscious consumers right to our front door, allowing time to enjoy all that summer has to offer.