Healthy Airport Food Hacks
December 05, 2017
When you’re experiencing the benefits of eating right, it can feel demoralizing to be thrown off your game by a couple days of holiday travel. Don’t wallow in an airport food coma—read on for tips on how to plan ahead and dig deeper for healthy choices on the road. With a little foresight, you won’t have to kneel before the Burger King.
Eat Beforehand or Carry OnTry not to go to the airport hungry. Eat at home before you go, or stop by a grocery store or café on your way to pick up a healthy choice. You’ll be able to bring most foods (with the exception of liquids, like soups and opened smoothies) through security. Habit’s own chefs have created a few portable snack recipes that will tick several nutritional boxes. Each snack is designed for planes, trains, and automobiles:
- Crunchy Chickpea Trail Mix: this protein-packed trail mix is made with roasted chickpeas instead of nuts.
- Coconut Almond Energy Balls: with a mix of whole-grain oats, almond butter, and dried cherries, these energy balls make a filling snack.
- Bacon & Cheese Muffins with Soft-Boiled Egg: these muffins are a little more perishable than the other snack recipes and are best enjoyed soon after you leave for the airport.
Start FreshIf you have to piece together a meal at the airport, start by looking for produce. Fruits and vegetables are always the hardest things to find in airport foods, so if it’s possible for you to pack and bring just that part of your meal, do it. A salad or some steamed veggies in a Ziplock bag can help balance out an entrée that you can easily find at an airport, like a bunless burger or chicken sandwich.
Fridge FirstThe refrigerated section of airport cafés is generally where you’ll find the fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, salads, veggie crudité packs with a side of hummus, and other wholesome, fresh foods. Hit those up before scoping out the menu options.
Make AdjustmentsA lot of airport meals are fried, loaded with cheese, or come with a large portion of refined carbs. In general, you can lighten things up with a few tweaks: 1) look for something that’s roasted, steamed, or sautéed instead of fried, 2) see if you can swap in whole grains, 3) remove the full-fat dairy products like cheese and cream sauce.
Think Like a BackpackerGrab some dried fruits, nuts, and granola bars from home before you go. You can bypass sodium-laden airline pretzels and peanuts during a long flight if you’ve got healthier snack options stashed in your carry-on.
Hydrate, Hydrate, HydrateIn addition to bringing your own refillable water bottle (since most airports have refilling stations), keep track of how much you gulp down. The Aerospace Medical Association recommends an 8 oz. glass of water for each hour of a flight, at a minimum. If you’re having coffee or wine, be sure to drink more water, since caffeine and alcohol may have a dehydrating effect for some people.
Find Some BalanceSince we know that airport food can be a puzzle (and a pricey one at that), don’t beat yourself up if you end up downing a less-than-ideal fast food meal. Just try to find some balance—stick to your eating plan the day before and the day after traveling. Remember, eating right is all about the big picture, not a single meal.