Airports may not be well known for healthy food choices, but with a little planning and creativity, you can eat well even while traveling. By understanding the challenges of airport dining and using strategies to avoid pitfalls, you can find nutritious options that keep you fueled up and energized on the go.
Challenges of Airport Eating
First, it helps to know why finding healthy foods is tougher at airports compared to other settings. One issue is that many airport restaurants emphasize fast service and convenience, leading to reliance on premade or fried foods high in sodium, fat, and calories (Gwynn, 2019). Limited time for sit-down dining pushes travelers towards grab-and-go options low in nutrition.
Airports also want wide appeal and profitability, so healthier picks may be less available. Tempting desserts and snacks are everywhere, making mindless indulgence easier. Irregular schedules, jet lag, and stress while traveling also derail healthy habits for many. Making smart choices requires effort (Hargrave, 2021).
Strategies for Healthy Eating
Despite the obstacles, nutritious airport meals are definitely possible with the right strategies:
• Research restaurants ahead of time using online guides or apps to pinpoint healthier eateries in your terminal. Choosing tasty nutrition-focused chains like SweetGreen or Freshii makes selections easier (Gwynn, 2019).
• Stick to lighter options like salads, bowls, or wraps versus fried, heavy foods. Load up on vegetable toppings and pick healthy proteins like chicken, turkey, or tofu (Mirsch, 2017).
• Always have filling snacks like protein bars, nuts, cut fruit and vegetables, or low-sugar trail mix on hand in case you get stranded without good choices (Hargrave, 2021).
• Drink lots of water instead of empty-calorie beverages. Stay hydrated and avoid overeating.
• Walk around terminals to find less obvious healthy vendors. Many airports now have food markets with fresh grab-and-go choices (Gwynn, 2019).
With a little forethought and cleverness, you can absolutely eat nutritious, energizing meals while traveling. Don't let airports derail your healthy habits.
Flight-Friendly Healthy Foods
Certain portable foods travel particularly well and give you the most nutritional bang for your buck at airports:
- Protein-packed sandwiches on whole grain bread
- Mixed nuts, seeds, and dried fruit trail mixes
- Vegetable-based soups or broths
- Salads with lean protein and avocado
- Hummus, guacamole, bean or lentil salads with carrot sticks or whole grain crackers for dipping
- Overnight oats or chia pudding cups
- Fresh fruit like bananas, apples, oranges that pack well
- Hard boiled eggs
- Whole grain or nut butter sandwiches
With the right healthy mindset and strategies, airports can still offer nutritious food that keeps you energized and healthy on your travels.
Gwynn, L. (2019, June 11). The best healthy restaurants to eat at the airport. SFGATE. https://www.sfgate.com/travel/article/healthy-food-airport-restaurants-13961849.php
Hargrave, J. (2021, November 29). 10 nutritionist tips for eating healthy while traveling. HuffPost. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/healthy-eating-travel-tips_l_61a508ece4b0451e55078189
Mirsch, L. (2017, November 20). 17 tips for eating healthy in airports. Active Times. https://www.activetimes.com/travel/airlines/17-tips-for-eating-healthy-in-airports