A Quick Guide to Eating Healthy at the Airport
January 31, 2013
By John Miller

From the heavenly scent of crisp, golden French fries to the delectable whipped cream-topped caramel macchiato, our favorite guilty-pleasure foods are everywhere in the small confines of the airport terminal. While junk food lovers may consider this heaven on earth, those attempting to maintain a solid diet plan are often overwhelmed by the thought of eating healthy at the airport.

With the TSA’s restrictions on liquids and gels as well as the near-extinction of meals served during flights, food options have tremendously expanded in airports worldwide. So what is the key to finding treats low in calories, fat, and grease? It all starts with knowing what you can eat at the airport– and arriving prepared.

Once your flight is booked, do a little research into the restaurants and food stands available in your terminal. Designate a spot for lunch ahead of time. Review menus online when you can and commit to your healthy food choice before being lured by greasy temptations.

When deciding on where to feast at the airport, look to fresh foods and avoid anything fried, greasy, or processed — which takes longer to digest and can trigger digestion issues like acid reflux; always a joy in flight. Instead, try healthy and digestible options such as sandwiches, thin-crust pizza, yogurt, a wheat bagel, or colorful salads (lettuce and assorted veggies). Avoid tuna or chicken salads – they generally contain big globs of mayonnaise. Lastly, stay away from side items such as potato chips and cookies, which can be high in sodium and calories. Stick to fruits and vegetables, which can satisfy your hunger just as easily, without the threat of unnecessary calories or indigestion.

Also, pack essential healthy snacks to keep your growling stomach at bay in between meals. Protein-rich snacks such as dried fruit and unsalted nuts or trail mix, will keep energy levels high and dehydration and that overfull feeling low.

Most importantly, remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Alcohol and caffeine can upset the stomach and leave you dehydrated – precisely what you don’t need if you’re looking to avoid jet lag. Water will not only keep you perfectly hydrated, but it has 0 calories — compare that to your 400-calorie beverage from Starbucks. But if the stress of traveling has already unsettled your stomach, try drinking club soda or herbal teas, which promote healthy digestion.

Finding your way around the terminal in search of healthy food isn’t as difficult as it is daunting. But if you search with a careful eye and do some prep-work, you’ll be on your way to a healthy meal and a comfortable flight.