Once You’ve Entered the Airport, Does Your Stomach Always Starts Growling?

29 Nov

Air travel, like holiday parties and office bake-offs, is one of those occasions during which it’s acutely difficult to eat wholesome, healthy food.

The holiday season means family, and that means airports, so how does a health-conscious traveler negotiate the food offerings at airports across America?

The good news is that in many airports, the prepared food choices are getting fresher and healthier.  It isn’t just about french fries and doughnuts anymore!  In lots of airports, you can now find everything from salad and sushi bars to smoothie stands and fresh Tex-Mex grill restaurants.

This photo is from the Las Vegas airport~taken this fall.  1st time seeing a “healthy” sign!

Healthy Airport Food:

Choosing healthy food options when traveling can be difficult because of the limited food options in an airport.  Eat a meal before traveling or bring food on the plane to avoid buying unhealthy food.  If you need to buy food at an airport, follow some general guidelines for healthy options.  Larger airports will have more variety for healthy food, and if time permits, you can walk around the terminal to pursue the healthiest eating options.

Fast Food:

Fast food usually dominates airport eating options.  Make healthy choices by avoiding heavy foods such as pizza, large hamburgers, hot dogs, baked pastries, fried foods, bacon, mayonnaise, or ranch or blue cheese dressing.  Choose a sandwich, salad or broth-based soup, if possible.  Sandwich shops can provide a healthy, quick meal; pair a sandwich with a piece of fruit, baked chips or salad.

If you are going to be flying during your meal hour, you may wish to bring a sacked lunch — especially if you have children flying with you, since airline offerings are not only costly, but meager.
Beverages:
First, you don’t have to buy a $3 bottle of water.  Instead, bring an empty water bottle with you.  Then, once you have cleared security, you can fill the bottle with water from a drinking fountain.  It’s the same water, but free.  Drink plenty of water and avoid high-sugar sodas or juices to keep calories down.  I use MIO water enhancer for some flavor~it goes through security just fine.
Some Healthy Airport Food Options:
Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal & Starbucks Multi-grain Bagel, McDonald’s Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken, Au Bon Pain Garden Vegetable Soup and Dunkin’ Donuts Egg White Veggie Flatbread.
Of course, as a rule it’s better to buy whole foods like bananas, apples, nuts, yogurt and dried fruit for snacking instead of fast food menu items.   The only way to know for sure that you’ll have snacks that suit your body and appetite is to bring your own.  I like bringing protein-rich snacks and “packable” fruits like apples, oranges, and dried fruit.   I also love NUTS and some protein bars are good in a pinch.
Armed with some key food items from home, and healthier options available for purchase at the airport, you’ll be a happier and healthier (or at least less hungry) traveler this holiday season.
I’m wondering about your travel secrets?  Do you have a favorite airport snack?  Or do you play it safe and pack your own PB&J?  
Happy travels!
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2 Responses to “Once You’ve Entered the Airport, Does Your Stomach Always Starts Growling?”

  1. dietitiandrive November 30, 2012 at 7:20 am #

    Great post and pictures! Thanks for the Ping, i love the look of your blog will start following.

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  1. Make Your Fast Food Healthy [Video] - December 9, 2012

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