Eating Healthy in Airports

Finding good food when you’re traveling isn’t easy, but with these hints from an experienced traveler you can turn up a few healthy choices in the terminal.

I travel a lot for my work, which means I eat many meals on a tray table at 30,000 feet. It’s challenging to find healthy food in an airport, but it can be done. Here’s what I’ve learned about it.

I often put together healthy meals by buying single ingredients at different restaurants.

Scout Your Options
If you have time, walk the entire concourse to look over your food choices. Don’t feel like you have to buy your entire meal at one place. I often put together healthy meals by buying single ingredients at different restaurants. For example, I combine brown rice from the Chinese buffet, steamed veggies from the pizza place, and hardboiled eggs from the bakery.

Order Carefully
Skip the junky extras, like potato chips, cookies, and brownies. Choose meats that are grilled or baked, not fried or breaded. When ordering a sandwich, choose whole grain bread and ask that the chef go easy on toppings like cheese and mayo. Pick croutons and excessive cheese off premade salads, and opt for a lower-calorie vinaigrette dressing (as opposed to a cream-based one). At the bagel shop, ask for an egg white patty or a smear of peanut butter in lieu of cream cheese.

Prioritize Fruits and Veggies
It’s really easy to find whole fruit at the airport – newspaper stands usually sell bananas and apples at the counter. It’s more challenging to locate vegetables that aren’t fried or covered in butter. More upscale restaurants often serve a leafy green side salad, which is better than the iceberg lettuce version available at fast food joints. If you’re pressed for time, place a to-go order at the hostess stand.

Quick Fixes
Newspaper stands often sell granola and protein bars (just check the ingredient lists for too much added sugar or artificial sweeteners). Frozen yogurt shops usually make healthy smoothies, too. For breakfast, consider Starbucks oatmeal, which comes with a serving of nuts.

Drink Up
It’s tempting to get a fountain soda, but trust me – you need the water. To save money, bring an empty water bottle through security and fill up at a water fountain.

That’s “Bring Your Own Food.” You can bring a lot of healthy food through airport security. I always pack food like soy nuts, whole fruit, almonds, granola bars, and baby carrots. If I don’t eat these snacks on the plane, you can bet I’ll appreciate them by the time I make it to my hotel room!

Have you found other ways to eat healthy when you’re traveling? Share your tips in Comments so we can all learn from each other.

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