How to Stay Healthy When Eating in Airports

Don't let summer travel derail your diet!

This summer, I’ll be going on a few different flights, some of which take me across large oceans and mean that I arrive in that never-pleasant state of jetlag. The easiest thing to do in the world would be to wolf down that country’s version of pizza – some kind of bread and cheese exists in so many places! – and wash it down with a soft drink. What I find is that being healthy in an airport situation is possible, but harder than just defaulting to good grocery shopping at home.

When life takes you on a flight, here are my tips:

  • Bring an empty water bottle through security – You can also buy bottled water, but I promise that keeping hydrated in the airport is one of the healthiest things you can do, and it might save you a little cash too when you get to the front of the airport food lines and drinks are double what they cost elsewhere. No matter what you eat inside security, it will be better for you if you are properly hydrated.
  • Look for small stands selling fresh food. Sometimes, it’s tempting to think that all the food in the airport is unhealthy and throw up one’s hands. However, there are usually a small group of stands throughout the terminal that sell fresh fruit, salads, and sandwiches; these will be lighter than most processed fast food, so you won’t feel so sluggish, and full of more nutrients as well.
  • If you have time to kill, walk the terminal – when you are sprinting to your gate, you are already getting in the steps you need for the day, but if you happen to arrive early and get through security without a wait, consider walking for 20 minutes or so before settling in at your gate. It’s easier to digest food if you have some moderate activity afterwards, and airports can be a pretty sedentary place – after all, it’s often a requirement once you are in the air!
  • Plan ahead for things you can control – dried fruit, hard pretzels, mixed nuts, and protein bars all keep well even when packed in your small carry-on, and so bringing your favorite nutritious snacks with you to the airport can ensure you don’t spend all your waiting time searching the airport shops for something healthy to eat.

Make it WayBetter

Whether you have travel coming up by car or by airplane or by train, what can you do to be more ready for the food hurdles you’ll face? Plan your travel food just like you plan your travel packing, to maximize your happiness, comfort, and health.