Airport travel (and even travel by train or car) can be stressful on its own. The key is to plan ahead, saving you time and money on your trip. Delays are inevitable and having snacks on hand will help keep temptation for less healthy choices at bay. Below are some snacks that are easy to slip into your carry-on and will make it through security without any problems:
If your travel plans don’t include airports, you have even more options including canned vegetable juice, yogurt, sandwiches, and cheese that you can stock in a small cooler.
Save money on drinks by bringing a reusable empty water container. Bottled water is usually marked up in the airport and will cost you about $3. Instead of purchasing it, fill up your water bottle at a drinking fountain. For a bit of flavor, stash a few single serving sugar free drink mixes in your bag.
Many airport eateries, both fast food and sit down restaurants are offering healthier choices these days. If your travels are long, you will likely need a bite to eat on the road so do a bit of research online to see what is available at your layover destination. Keep the usual tips for eating out in mind when traveling:
You can also use our guide below to find some common healthy airport offerings.
Starbucks is probably one of the most abundant chains in airports. Steer away from the pastry case and the coffee drinks loaded with syrup and whip cream.
When picking a beverage, opt for a non-fat latte or if you’d like a sweet flavoring, try one of the many sugar-free syrups available. Better yet, stick to plain coffee and add your own milk and artificial sweetener.
For breakfast, skip the scone and opt for one of the many 300 calorie breakfast options such as the Turkey Bacon & White Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich, the Spinach & Feta or Chicken Sausage Breakfast Wraps, or a yogurt parfait. All save you almost 200 calories compared to a scone! Other options that could make a light meal are the Goat cheese and Garden Veggie Bistro Box for 220 calories and the Chicken and Hummus Bistro Box for about 260 calories.
Donuts from this popular chain range from 270 to over 500 calories each! The typical combo includes 2 donuts and a plain coffee providing more than 600 calories. But this chain has come a long way in providing healthier options. Try out the Egg White Flatbread for 280 calories and 32 grams of carbohydrate, or the Egg White Turkey Sausage Wrap for just 150 calories and 14 grams of carbohydrate.
It’s best to avoid the specialty latte drinks and stick to plain coffee with milk (instead of cream) and artificial sweetener to round out your breakfast.
Cinnabon is another common airport fast food chain, but it's best to avoid it when traveling. The Cinnabon Classic has 880 calories and 127 grams of carbohydrate in one cinnamon roll. The Mini Rolls and Cinnastix (5 count) are about half the calories and around 50 grams of carbohydrate each. If this is your only food option in the airport, it is probably a good time to pull out your nuts and apple to make a small meal.
Au Bon Pain
If your travel plans take you past an Au Bon Pain, you are in luck. This chain provides calorie information on its menu boards so you can make the best choice for your meal plan.
While most of their bagels are about 50-70 grams of carbohydrate, some shops may have the whole wheat skinny bagel with only 90 calories and 21 grams of carbohydrate – 6 of which is fiber. Au Bon Pain has also branched into the egg white sandwiches with several options around 300 calories and 26 or fewer grams of carbohydrate.
For other meals, several lower calorie soups and salads are available. A small (8 ounce) portion of Garden Vegetable Soup has 50 calories and 9 grams of carbohydrate; Chicken Noodle has 70 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrate; Cabbage Soup has 80 calorie and 10 grams of carbohydrate; and Italian Wedding Soup has 120 calories and 11 grams of carbohydrate.
Pizza is always a tough food if you’re watching calories and carbohydrates. At this common pizza chain, one slice of cheese pizza is over 450 calories and has about 60 grams of carbohydrate. Adding meat toppings to the pizza increases the calorie count significantly, with 780 calories in one slice of the Meat Delight Pizza.
There are not many options at this chain because of the large portions. Other entrees have even more calories than a slice of cheese or veggie pizza. If this is your only option, some locations may have a Mixed Vegetable Plate with about 190 calories. Otherwise, sticking to one slice of cheese or veggie pizza (or splitting it with a travel buddy) and adding a side salad is probably your best option.
by Barbara Seelig-Brown
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