#1- Allow time before you leave for the airport to sit down to a nutritious and satisfying home-cooked meal If you leave for the airport satisfied, there is less temptation to purchase junk food at the airport or on the plane.
#2- If possible, pack a home-cooked meal and snacks. Some great choices are fruits, nuts, veggies, hard-boiled eggs or a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread. A quick solution for people on the go is a Lara Bar. These bars have very few ingredients, good fats, taste great and are small enough to toss in your purse or carry-on.
#3- Try to avoid foods high in sugar and /or carbohydrates such as packaged pies or donuts. Soon after eating, your sugar and energy will drop and you will be hungry again and most likely feel sluggish. Not only are these foods high in fat, refined sugar and processed carbs, they are also low in nutritional value.
#4- Ask yourself if you are hungry or if it could be dehydration. Often times we confuse hunger with thirst. This is especially true when we are traveling and sitting in dry cabin conditions on the airplane. Reach for bottled water over sodas from the drink cart and avoid coffee and alcohol.
#5- What should you do if you have a layover and need to eat a snack or meal at the airport? Of course every airport has different choices, but as a general rule I try to stick to eating whole foods. What I mean by this is that I like to avoid processed/packaged foods and meals from fast food stands. I like to know what the ingredients are and how my food is prepared. This isn’t always possible so I tend to opt a pre-made salad with chicken from the airport café. Watch out for oily croutons and dressings loaded with fats and HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). Use oil and vinegar when possible or ask for a lemon wedge. Sandwiches can also be a good option, but use common sense and read the ingredients. Avoid sandwiches with a long ingredient list or ones loaded with cheese/mayo or other processed condiments. Some airport cafés now offer fresh cut veggies with hummus or chopped up fruits. These are excellent choices that you can feel good about as well. Of course every airport has different cafés and restaurants. I will explore options from popular restaurants soon in another post about dining at the aiport.