Food · Sweet Tooth

50 States, At Least 50 Doughnuts

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Happy National Doughnut Day! In recognition of this momentous occasion, I thought I would share how my quest to eat a doughnut in all 50 states came to be. It all started last January on a trip to Memphis, Tennessee to run a trail race with my mother. I was driving from Missouri and planned to stop in Arkansas for the usual amenities – gas, restrooms, and a donut (naturally). This got me thinking: Memphis is only minutes away from the state border of Mississippi; I could have a donut in 3 states in one weekend. And that’s just what I did. (Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi: CHECK)

Since that trip I have made significant progress on my pastry pursuit!  A midwestern road trip in March allowed me to cross Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois off my list. This spring I covered significant ground and enjoyed a doughnut (or 2) in Kentucky, North Carolina, Indiana, and Ohio.

The only criteria is photo documentation of the donut – that means some repeats are in order (New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, I’m coming for you). If at all possible I like to avoid big chains and visit local, mom ‘n pop type shops. I am an avid runner, so any time I can add a race or just a leisurely run to my travel itinerary, that’s a bonus (eg. 12 mi run in FREEZING Sioux Falls, followed by a Butterfingers donut, see below).

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Now it may seem a little odd that a soon-to-be registered dietitian (RD) would have the desire to do such a thing: indulge in a sugar, trans-fat laden doughnut at least 50 times, but I am a firm believer in enjoying things you love in moderation. I eat healthy foods and exercise regularly, so every now and then (or whenever I’m driving across the country) I’m going to indulge in my favorite frosted treat. Plus, a good excuse to visit all 50 states!

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50 States, At Least 50 Doughnuts: Tara Tested, Tara Approved! 18 down, 32 to go! So far I have photo documentation of a doughnut eaten in: Maryland, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma, Kentucky, North Carolina, Indiana, and Ohio. I’ve loved the trips I’ve taken and the chance to see our beautiful country state by state. What is your favorite place to get a donut? Any recommendations for my remaining 32 states?!

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