...think healthier

From The Cooper Institute and Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas

The time is always right to do what is right. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
Sign at the Airport for food
Written by May 24, 2012

Tonya Gutch, MS

Senior Professional Fitness Trainer

airport food
food options
snack options
Help! I’m hungry and I’m at the airport!

If you ever fly for business or pleasure, being hungry at the airport can be a nightmare.  It can sabotage your healthy eating habits quicker that you can say cinnamon roll!  Being stranded at an airport can leave you with few to no healthy food choices at all.  The goal to find healthy food at most airports can be a major challenge for even the healthiest of eaters!  The thing with the airport is that it is a creature of the unknown.  You never know what is going to happen once you arrive.  You can run into delayed flights, long security lines and/or your flight being canceled!   It is not uncommon for a traveler to find themselves delayed or stranded for any unknown length of time. But do not despair. Traveling does not mean your healthy diet has to fall by the wayside.  With advance planning and proper organization, a traveler can avoid wrecking their diet with unhealthy airport food.

It is not uncommon to find yourself surrounded by nothing but fast food restaurants but, you will find many airports across the globe have slowly started to add healthier options. As a general rule, the bigger the airport, the more food and restaurant choices you will have.  One way to plan ahead is to look at the airport’s website to see what restaurant options are available and plan your meals ahead of time if you know you are going to have to eat there.

It is also a good idea to bring food with you even if you don’t think you will need to eat because you never know what can happen. This is the best way to ensure that you are going to eat healthy while traveling.  I know that the TSA has rules prohibiting travelers from bring liquids and gels through security, but solid foods like fruits, granola bars, cereals, sandwiches, nuts and veggies are all acceptable.  No matter how short my flight is or where I am going, I always pack something nutritious to eat just in case I get caught in a bind.

Here are a few ideas of food items I always recommend to my clients to bring along on a trip:

Snack ideas to pack in your carry on bag.

  1. Nutrition bars
  2. Nuts and seeds
  3. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread
  4. Fruit: Bananas, apples, grapes, raisins, etc
  5. Cheese and crackers
  6. Whole grain cereal in a zip-lock bag
  7. Veggies: Carrots, celery, red peppers, broccoli, etc
  8. Granola bars
  9. Turkey and cheese in pita
  10. Dried fruit with nuts

If you are at the mercy of the fast food restaurants or snack shops at the airport, here are a few suggestions to keep you on the right track to eating healthy.

You should be able to find these items:

  1. Fruit
  2. Unsalted nuts
  3. Oatmeal
  4. Grilled chicken salad with dressing on the side
  5. Plain baked potato (maybe with a little ketchup)
    Tastes like French fries :-)
  6. Yogurt—watch out though for the parfaits that can have a lot of added sugar
  7. Deli sandwiches on pita or whole wheat bread
  8. Bagel with cream cheese or peanut butter
  9. Small single hamburger – no fries
  10. Grilled chicken strips or sandwich
  11. Tall skim latte-The milk has protein and carbohydrates that may be enough to curb your appetite to hold you over to your next healthy meal.
  12. One slice of cheese pizza and a side salad
  13. Burrito with beans and rice
  14. Egg white omelets

A final tip I also include in travel advice is to drink plenty of water. This will keep you hydrated while also potentially curbing your hunger.

The key to eating healthy at the airport is to be prepared for anything and plan ahead.  Include packing food as you pack your suitcase.  Also, knowing what food to look for will definitely help you eat healthier.  I know planning ahead and packing your own snacks will require a little extra effort, but you will be well prepared if hunger strikes.

Happy and healthy traveling!

Show more comments
© 2015 The Cooper Institute / Terms and Conditions / Privacy Policy
Site Design: The Brand Hatchery / Site Development: Canonball Creative