Freelance writer, mum and lover of all things Melbourne :)
Published July 27th 2014
Healthy fast food on the highways and freeways of Victoria
I went on a really long bus trip in the US once, and by long I mean around 36 hours! All the way from Seattle to Los Angeles. Something only backpackers and crazy people do. I have many stories to tell from that trip but the one that relates to this article is this.
Yes, I would like beans with that, photo courtesy of Olivers Real Food Facebook Page:https://www.facebook.com/oliversrealfood/photos_stream
The only food available to us the entire trip was road-stop food. This was no scenic trip, the only place the buses stopped was petrol stations (or Gas Stations as they're called there, with a dodgy diner if you're lucky). I'm talking chips, chocolate, lollies, burgers, soft drinks, and anything beige and fried. The stuff that seems like a real treat when you haven't had it for some time, but after a few days and that's all you eat, especially when it's America so it's extra sweet or extra salty, it still makes my stomach churn thinking about it. By the time we finally got to L.A the first mission was to find a fruit and vegetable shop, it's the one time in my life I've bought raw celery and carrots and ate them on the beach. It was the best food I have ever tasted.
I was reminded of this a little while ago when I noticed a sign on the Highway here in Victoria. 'Would you like beans with that?' it said, with a picture of steamed beans in a fries container.
How good would that have been on that long bus trip? I thought, anything resembling real food would have been great. Whilst I plan to never take on such a long bus trip again, long road trips in the car are often inevitable in Australia. I have been on a few and no matter how well you prepare well-intentioned healthy homemade snacks for the car, you are likely going to need to stop at some point and fill up on something more substantial. This usually means 'meals' from options similar to the aforementioned, your choice of beige, fried or sugar-dipped.
Luckily for me, on my last trip I decided, yes, I did want beans with that and discovered Oliver's. A welcome alternative to the usual golden arches, or pre-packaged petrol station junk.
Oliver's offers breakfast, lunch and snack options. Instead of burgers and fries, there's a wide range of healthy options available including; sushi, salads, soup and curries, sandwiches and more. Beverage options include juices, and freshly made smoothies and coffees. All food on offer follows the Oliver's Real Food philosophy of providing real food as fuel or medicine to keep your body healthy. They use fresh, wholefood, and organic where possible, aiming to make it both nutritious and yummy.
On my visit, I indulged in a coffee, carrot cake and beans for a snack (pictured below) the photo almost captured how fresh the food is. As well as enjoying the novelty of having fresh cooked beans as a fries substitute, I also enjoyed the cake and coffee and my body thanked me for not filling it with junk.
Oliver's Real Food caters for all customers, with 'kids packs' for the kids and speciality menus that cover gluten and dairy free, vegetarian and vegan options.
If you really love Oliver's Real Food but are not planning a roadtrip in the near future, you can also purchase a number of their food items, as well as books, cds, and dvds online.
Oliver's has had stores in New South Wales for some time but has just opened 4 new stores in Victoria.