Health Takes Flight

Reviewed by Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN
Health Takes Flight Snack Foods in Airports

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After braving crowds, lines and turbulence, even the most health-conscious air travelers can find themselves struggling to stay well. But stressful times are exactly when your body most needs nourishing food and hydration. Learn strategies to eat right in the airport.

Foods That Will Clear Security

Packing nutritious snacks is especially important while traveling, because options while traveling can be limited and you might not be able to eat at regular meal times. Keeping satisfying snacks on hand will help prevent hunger from adding to the stress of travel.

Try making your own homemade trail mix with whole-grain cereal, nuts and a sprinkling of dried fruit. Fresh whole fruit, such as apples and bananas, and your favorite whole-grain snack bars are easy to pack and will make it through security.

Concourse Options

If you aren't able to pack snacks, look for nourishing options at airport shops and restaurants. Look for high-fiber granola bars, pretzels, peanut butter crackers, packages of peanuts, hummus or fruit.

Many airport restaurants have a variety of meals to suit diverse preferences. From Mediterranean salads loaded with vegetables and beans to grilled chicken and salmon, there are plenty of nutrient-dense options to choose from.

You also can buy a packaged salad or sandwich and bring it on the plane with you. Just remember to eat it within two hours of removing it from refrigeration to prevent foodborne illness.

What to Drink

As always, staying hydrated is important. Drinking plenty of water can help fight feelings of fatigue and can keep your immune system running at its peak. Bring an empty reusable water bottle with you and fill it up at a drinking fountain once you get through security. Many airports offer filtered water as well. That way you don't have to spend money on bottled water.

Tips for Travelers with Dietary Restrictions

Finding food in the airport can be a challenge for those with special dietary considerations. For example, for vegetarian or vegan travelers, global cuisine is often a great choice — a Mexican restaurant serving bean burritos, a Chinese restaurant serving vegetable stir fry with tofu, or a Middle Eastern restaurant serving hummus and falafel.

Or, research your options ahead of time. Plan ahead and go onto the airport's website and find out exactly what the eating places are in your terminal. Make sure you have time in your schedule to grab food. When in doubt, eat before heading to the airport and bring nutritious, satisfying snacks with you.

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