How to Eat Healthy at the Airport

Sorbis /

Healthy airport food, is there even such a thing? Over the years airports have been littered with fast food concessions, variety stores full of candy and chips and not a leafy green salad in sight. Times are changing though and as people become more conscious of what they are putting in their bodies it is up to the airports to keep up and provide us with more healthy options. But with the smells of Cinnabon wafting through the hallways we know how hard it is to walk right on by. After sitting on a plane for 5 hours without a meal understandably passengers are starving when they disembark. But what should you eat to curb your hunger and stay healthy?  These tips and tricks below will have your belly full in the healthiest of ways possible.

Pack ahead

We know it is easier said than done as most of us are too busy running around remembering to let the dog out and call the babysitter rather than thinking about snacks for the road. Packing healthy snacks is a great way to avoid that unhealthy airport food though. Toss a few granola bars, a container of crackers and some dried fruit into your purse as you dash out the door. Safety regulations vary from airport to airport but in most cases you will need to leave your liquids at home but foods are usually fine to carry through security.

Fruit and nuts

Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.

Have the willpower to walk past the bag of chips, to put down the chocolate bar from the tiny variety shop and to avoid the overpowering smell of Cinnabon that has a whopping 880 calories in just one roll. Other things to avoid include anything with mayonnaise, anything ‘stuffed’ and anything with a lot of dressing on it. Use your common sense and don’t order a quarter pounder with cheese from McDonalds; in fact you should probably just avoid that restaurant altogether at the airport. Also make sure you aren’t eating a lot of little snacks; those donuts or small ice creams can add up to a lot of calories when you have more than one or two. Avoid drinking alcohol in between flights as this will make you less aware of what you are eating and has the capacity to make you crave unhealthy snacks. Before you know it you will have drank your calories and eaten a burger loaded with cheese and bacon. Skip having the second latte at Starbucks and instead grab a bottle of water. Keeping hydrated in the dry airports and on the plane will do wonders for your mood and your ‘fake’ hunger.

TonyV3112 /
TonyV3112 /

Do Some Research

Research the airport terminals before you go to see what they offer in terms of meals or snacks. Knowing that there are healthy places to eat makes a big difference when you step off the plane, especially if you’re starving. If you don’t know what is available you are likely to stop at the first place that smells good and chances are it will be unhealthy. Research the products available at these restaurants and have an idea in mind of what you want before you get there. Look for restaurants that list nutrition facts on their menu and go for veggies and fruit over French fries. Don’t be fooled by the ‘fruit smoothies’ that are often packed with sugar and instead reach for the freshly squeezed juice that still satisfies your sugar craving but in a natural way. Some of the airports that offer the healthiest options include Baltimore, Seattle Tacoma and Los Angeles, with Baltimore offering an incredible 92% of their concessions with at least one healthy option. Healthy options include quinoa salad, sushi, organic fruit, veggie burger sliders and roasted beet salad. The key is finding these healthy options rather than just settling for the first thing you see.

computer research

Make Sure You’re Actually Hungry

Being in an airport, for even just an hour somehow seems to make our brain believe we are hungry. Something about the smells, the boredom and not knowing when you might get an opportunity to eat again makes us run for food as soon as we get there. But take a minute to figure out if you are actually hungry or if you are just eating for something to do. If you are simply struggling to find something to do than take a long walk around the airport; browse the shops, browse the restaurants and find out what the healthy options are once the time comes to eat. If you are actually starving grab a piece of fruit to tie you over while you search for the right option.

airport waiting

We Know It’s Not Easy But…

Eating healthy at the airport is a lot easier than it used to be and with options such as Freshii, Argo Tea, Legal Sea Foods, and Kobo the choices are only getting better. Remember to look for leafy green salads, ancient grain bowls, veggie options and cholesterol-free, plant-based, fiber-packed meals. Don’t be overwhelmed by the sweet smells of high sugar junk food; hold that head up high and walk right by. Pack snacks ahead of time; just be aware of what you can bring in through security and customs. Stock up on dried fruits, power bars and nuts. Most of all; be smart about what you are eating. You know your body and know what is good for it. Don’t let being in an airport be an excuse to eat everything you wouldn’t normally. And if you just can’t walk by that frozen yogurt place again; just remember to get an extra small size. Trust us; your belly will thank you later.

Sorbis /
Sorbis /

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