It is difficult to remain healthy while traveling when you factor in all the security, flight changes, and layovers one encounters at the airport. It often results in most of your day spent at the airport and in one or more meals having to be consumed at the airport or while on the plane. For many travelers, time to eat is short. Now that food offered on most flights is extremely limited, bringing food to eat on the plane or while waiting at the departure gate is often your best bet. Cheese sticks, fresh fruit, peanut butter, nuts, and protein bars or drinks are always the best things to go with.
Most major airports now feature local-flavor restaurants that will expand on the typical fast-food choices of a few years ago. Look for the low-fat options and seek out ways to add extra vegetables and fruits into soups, salads, and side orders.
Breakfast and lunch Alternatives
If you do not have time to eat before leaving for an early morning flight you can still begin your day with a healthy breakfast. You can pick up a yogurt, fruit, or protein bar or drink. If you are grabbing breakfast from a restaurant or hotel, stay away from the carb-ladden bagels, and fatty pastries and donuts and pick one of the previously mentioned, or for non-bariatric patients, fiber-rich cereals with low fat milk or oatmeal are good choices. Other healthy breakfast options would be an egg, or again for non-surgical patients a small egg sandwich on a roll and Canadian bacon. Limit the add-ons like cheese, bacon, or butter to no more than one and definitely pass on the high-fat sausage. Again, no pastries as these will have your energy levels hitting the ground before your plane does.
Healthy Restaurant Eating Tips
If flight time coincides with mealtime later in the day, look for a tomato or broth-based soup, vegetarian chili, or a stir-fry from a grill restaurant. You want to stay away from anything fried or with a mysterious special sauce and go with anything grilled, broiled or steamed. Also, appetizers offer smaller portions compared to full meals. Also, it is always a wise idea to only eat half of what you order and put the rest in a doggie bag. For those of you are not a bariatric patient, if you have to grab a sandwich, a small deli sandwich or 6-inch sub works well. Ask for lean cuts of meat such as turkey or roast beef and ask for extra vegetables. Stick to no more than one high fat add-on like mayonnaise, dressing, cheese, or bacon as these add 50 to 100 calories each. If you are at a fast food type place, go with the grilled chicken or plain burger without the add-ons mentioned previously and of course skip the fries and have a side salad instead. Most importantly, just keep in mind that just because the food is in front of you, doesn’t mean you have to finish your plate-take 20 minutes at least to finish your meal and stop eating when you are full.
As for snacking, do not get in the habit of snacking your way through airports and flights as a way to relieve stress and boredom. Have one of the snacks you brought if you are experiencing hunger pangs. A bottle of water allows you to stay fully hydrated and fill you up. Oftentimes when you think you are hungry, you are actually just thirsty. Stay away from those extra-large mocha whipped-cream coffee drinks that have the calories and fat of a whole meal without the nutrients. Always stick to water and if you don’t carry a water bottle, ask for water on the plane.
Eating healthy while traveling is not impossible, just keep these tips in mind.