Let’s face it, when you’re hurrying through an airport on a mission to make your flight, chances are you won’t be sitting down to eat a gourmet meal. (Heck, you’re probably lucky if you can grab a bite at all.) Once you arrive at your terminal and realize you’re in need of some nourishment, it quickly becomes apparent that your options are quite limited.
While you had every intention of eating somewhat sensibly throughout your trip, faith in your ability to stick with that plan starts to dwindle quickly when you find yourself surrounded by nothing but airport terminal fast food. Figuring out what to eat while you’re on-the-go doesn’t have to be stressful, though. (You had enough of that while trying to get through security.)
Sure, fast food menus tend to feature many nutritionally unreasonable options, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have anything good to offer. In fact, as of late many fast food chains have taken it upon themselves to include more nutritious and wholesome cuisine for health-conscious consumers. Choosing the smartest option simply boils down to knowing what to look for.
“Always look for something with vegetables or add in your own if and when you can,” says Heather Calcote, a registered dietitian and corporate wellness coach from Washington, D.C. She advises travelers to watch out for “white” packaged foods like chips, crackers, and granola bars and to opt for fresh, colorful cuisine, which will provide extra energy and essential vitamins and minerals.
And don’t forget about paying attention to serving sizes either. “Moderate portion sizes and gravitate towards items that include a protein, starch and fruit or vegetable,” says Virginia-based registered dietician Kristen Chang, MS RD. “If you're traveling in a group, split a meal to cut on calories, or take half to go. Most of all, remember that making healthier choices will help to energize and limit fatigue, thus leading to a better overall travel experience.”
At the end of the day, our health and wellness comes down to the decisions we make, and ultimately, healthier choices will make for happier travelers. Find out which menu options among some of the most common airport eateries will keep you feeling happy and healthy all throughout your trip.