Eat Right at the Airport


Eating right can be tricky at the airport, but you don’t have to break your diet when you travel. Fly lean and satisfied with these 9 tips.


Watch out for foods that pack extra calories and fat. If you’re getting a sandwich, “you definitely want to avoid anything with cheese or sausage,” cautions Jennifer Neily, RD. “Generally speaking, steer clear of any “salady sounding” item like tuna salad, chicken salad etc. because there usually loaded with mayonnaise or other specialty dressings.” Also, try to pass on junk- food sides like chips and cookies, which can be full of unnecessary calories, fat, and sugar.


“The tough part of eating healthy in airports is finding produce,” says Holly Brewer, RD, “but you can get a sandwich with extra lettuce and tomato, and more & more side stands are offering whole fruit to go” Fruits and veggies are low in calories, so they won’t break your calorie bank, and they’re high in fiber, so they’ll hold you over while you fly. They’ll also give you a healthy boost of protective nutrients. “Many vegetables are a good source of vitamins A and C,” advises Laura Coury, RD. “Be sure to eat the brightly colored ones—dark green and orange, which are often lacking in our diets.”


It’s no secret that eating a lot of salt is bad for you, but it may be worse for frequent fliers. According to Cheryl Orlansky, RD, “for those men who travel often, higher sodium foods may contribute to high blood pressure and fluid retention.” What’s worse is that we usually have no clue how much sodium is in the foods that we order. So if you choose to sit down at an airport restaurant, “request no added salt from the chef,” advises Orlansky, “and reduce salt intake from 25-50%.”


We’re usually in a mad rush at the airport, running between bag-check, Terminal This and Concourse That. We certainly don’t want you to miss your flight, but slow down when it comes to eating. “Take time to enjoy your meal and chew it well,” advises Evangeline Lahijani RD, “inhaling even the most nutritious meal will likely make you feel uncomfortable, bloated and unsatisfied. So savor every bite.”


Once you know which terminal you’re flying out of, do some research—all eateries and their locations within the airport are listed online. Some airports even have the restaurants’ menus on their website. Chains like Au Bon Pain and McDonalds even have the nutritional information for their options on their websites. If you know where the healthy options are, you’re less likely to make poor choices when you travel.


Airport sports bars may look promising when you’re flight gets delayed, but try to avoid drinking when you fly. Aside from being a lot of empty calories, alcohol can dehydrate you, says Holly Brewer, RD, leaving you with major headaches (not to mention mile-high hangovers). Feel free to put your feet up with a Guinness once you hit the ground.


Eating in regular intervals is important to maintain blood sugar levels, satiety, and keep your energy high while you travel. “We should not go longer than 4 hours between meals,” cautions Holly Brewer, RD. “If the flight is longer, grab two small sandwiches.”


Traveling can be unpredictable, but try to eat portions that are balanced. “One of the goals of eating when traveling is a meal with moderate amounts of lean protein and carbohydrates with fiber, advises Cheryl Orlansky, RD. “These meals help digest foods in a slow and steady way to release that needed energy when you arrive at your destination.”


“Don’t be afraid to bring stuff from home,” encourages Holly Brewer, RD. “It saves money, time, and you know exactly what you are eating.” You can also pack healthy snacks from airport shops—”stick to the basics and grab an individual cup of hummus, a bag of ready-to-eat crudite, a hardboiled egg and a piece of fruit to bring with you on the plane,” suggests Keri Glassman, RD. That way, you won’t have to deal with soggy airplane dinners.

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