Ideas for Eating Healthy at the Airport

Security lines, boredom, stress, deadlines, traveling with kids, missed connections — all of these things can make navigating the airport a nightmare. Especially when it comes to trying to eat healthy. In fact, most of the time It feels like a total junk food wasteland. Some airports are starting to provide healthier options, but unfortunately, they are so buried in the sea of fast food and candy kiosks, it’s hard to find them.

What’s a healthy eater to do? Since the best defense is a good offense, I thought I’d list out a few ideas that you can use to make your next trip through the airport a healthy one.

  • The absolute best option is to bring your own food with you. Pack some unsalted nuts or seeds, apples, bananas, KIND bars or whatever your favorite healthy snacks might be.  Leave the yogurt at home though.  It’s a great idea, but unfortunately liquid-like items are really frowned upon at security.  I’ve had mine thrown away so many times, I’ve stopped trying to bring it through.
  • If you can’t bring your own food from home, don’t despair. There are fresh food kiosks sprinkled around some major airports these days.  For example, there’s Proof of the Pudding in the Atlanta Airport or Au Bon Pain in airports in Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, Indianapolis, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington DC.  Both suppliers have plenty of healthy options to choose from and health information is listed for each menu item.
  • If you’re not in one of the cities listed above, your next best option is to weed through the news stands and self-serve restaurant options. Find things like nuts or beef jerky (watch the sodium though), fresh fruit, cut up veggies or plain yogurt.  If none of these are available, try oatmeal or an English muffin sandwich with a side of fruit at one of the restaurants serving breakfast items.
  • As always, drink water and more water. Stay away from sports drinks, sodas or bottled juices as many contain enough sugar and/or salt to blow your whole eating plan for the day.  And while it’s really tempting to begin your celebration early or celebrate the end of a great trip, try to keep the alcohol consumption to a minimum. (Yeah – I know.  I’m no fun at all!)

Lastly, make sure you’re really hungry and not just bored or stressed.  Try a few things to entertain yourself and get your mind off the Cinnabon aroma wafting its way down to your gate.  Bring all those magazines you’ve had stacked up on your desk for weeks.  Take time out for a little meditation and deep breathing.  Play a game of cards with your kids.  You’ll probably forget all about wanting to wolf down that Snickers bar, and I promise you’ll feel better and have a lot more energy when you reach your destination.

Happy travels!

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