Sometimes it seems like bottled water is the only healthy option at airports. Fresh produce, green smoothies, and matcha lattes are unfortunately hard to come by in the terminal. While your best bet is to pack your food (some of our plane-approved favorites are popcorn, celery sticks, packets of nut butter and, of course, Siren Snacks), we get that travel can be hectic and planning ahead isn’t always realistic. Plus, there’s zero chance your almond milk is making it past TSA. Though that McDonald’s Egg McMuffin may look and smell tempting, keep these three tips in mind to satisfy your hunger while also maintaining your health goals.
We know what you’re thinking: Chips and margaritas? Seriously? Nope, not this kind of Mexican. Many Mexican restaurants have a bowl, salad, or platter menu option that contains grilled veggies, a protein source, and a healthy fat like avocado slices or guacamole. Even if there are only burritos and tacos on the menu, ask if you can sub the tortilla for a bed of lettuce or get all of the “inside” ingredients served in a bowl, plate, or to-go container. To keep your diet as clean and fibrous as possible, skip the rice, cheese, and any sauces. Try asking for extra vegetables instead. Did we mention that guacamole, pico de gallo, or a couple of squeezes of lime (or all three mixed together) can be a great dressing?
The plain whole-grain oatmeal at Starbucks is a simple but satisfying breakfast option. Though the oatmeal comes with toppings like brown sugar and dried fruit, we suggest enjoying the oatmeal plain to avoid a blood sugar spike. If you’re craving something crunchy or more filling, grab a bag of unsalted nuts or pre-packaged fruit from the nearest Hudson News. Mixing almonds, cashews, walnuts, or sunflower seeds into your oatmeal will increase the healthy fat content and keep you fuller for longer. Fruit is a natural source of fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
Like the Mexican joint, many smoothie and juice bars let you customize your beverage to something similar to what you might blend at home. Our go-to smoothie recipe is one that contains fiber, protein, fat, and greens. Celebrity nutritionist Kelly Leveque believes this combination balances our blood sugar and turns off our hunger hormones, so you’re not grabbing pretzels and cookies from the flight attendant. In Jamba Juice terms, this might look like: kale, cucumber, or spinach (greens), chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, or fruit (fiber), peanut butter (fat), protein powder (protein), and water to blend.
That Dunkin’ Donuts glazed original may be calling your name, but you don’t necessarily have to abandon your healthy habits just because you’re at the airport. Even if you accidentally left that Ziploc bag of carrot sticks and package of hummus at home (we’ve all been there), a little hunting and customization can go a long way. No matter where you’re flying to, sticking to your clean eating routine can make anywhere feel more like home.