Think back when you last rushed to the airport dangerously close to the final call of your flight only to find your plane being delayed for an unknown amount of time. Even worse, it’s evening and you haven’t eaten anything since lunch – you were wo looking forward for that sandwich on the plane. What to do now? Of course you could rush to that McDonald’s outlet in terminal 2 and quickly stuff yourself with your usual Quarter Pounder with Cheese and gain 510 calories in a blink of an eye. But we both know that’s not really the most clever choice nor will it satisfy you for the rest of the evening.
So, is there a healthier alternative at the airport? There sure is, as my friends at LifeApps wrote in their blog “Healthy snacks for travellers” you should follow three simple rules:
- Eat light
- Drink plenty of water
- Consume caffeine and alcohol in moderation
I know, you now probably think, well, I knew that already, but can you explain this in a bit more practical way, please? Sure, we can! Life Apps defined it in the following way:
Eat light: this is the heart of this post. By eating light we want to avoid fatty (especially saturated fat) and sugary foods, and empty calories. When it comes to snacks, there ARE healthy alternatives to airport food courts, and I’ll go into some of those alternatives in a moment.
Water: this is hardly a news flash, but it bears repeating: stay hydrated, whether you’re flying internationally or are holed up in your office! It’s especially important when flying, however, as the air being recirculated in aircraft cabins is quite dry. Moreover, caffeine and alcohol can exacerbate this condition, contributing to the risk of dehydration. The general rule is that you should drink ~12 oz. of water for each hour you fly.
Caffeine & alcohol in moderation: as an addicted, er, dedicated coffee drinker, this one’s a bit tough for me. In general, don’t go nuts with the quad espresso’s… a cup or two of caffeinated coffee is OK, just be mindful that coffee is a diuretic and you don’t want to be dehydrated on the road. As for alcohol, my only advice is to be careful when going out to dine with a group of colleagues. The best strategy: drink sparingly before dinner, and you’ll be much more able to be disciplined about what you eat during dinner! Keep “all things in moderation” as your mantra, and you should be just fine.
The blog article then goes on and provides a few very good snack alternatives. My favourite of the lot definitely has to be the Larabar – a very tasty yet nutritiously well balanced snack bar. You find them in the US in abundance yet they are harder to find in the UK (try the Whole Food outlets or selected speciality stores).
So, can you only eat healthy at the airport when you bring your own snacks? Not at all. Most airport eateries feature healthier alternatives as well. At Heathrow for example you find fruit, nuts and lean wraps in most Pret-a-Manger, Eat, Nero and WHSmith. As listed before, check the labels for their nutritious information and select low fat, low sugar and low salt food.
Picture from Flickr