With holiday travels coming up around the corner, it’s fairly easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle; therefore losing sight of your healthy mission. Whether you’re skipping out on a traditional Christmas and spending time on an island or going home for a warm holiday by the fireplace; it’s important to not let a day of traveling ruin your momentum! Regardless of how long the flight is, the temptations are running high to pig out. FYI if you haven’t caught on…I speak for myself..I have another trip back to the east coast next week and those 5.5 hour flights are a killer!
Why? Well, for example, I was pretty disappointed Thanksgiving weekend flying into JFK – one of the largest airport hubs in the US. I was directed to Terminal 4. I hadn’t got a chance to eat lunch yet and I had a 6 hour flight ahead of me, so I was hoping to stumble upon at least one health food vendor to stock up. To my luck, there just so happens to be more Chocolate/Candy/Duty-Free stores than there were for food options. Literally, I passed at least 6-8 Giant Chocolate stores carrying all of the top international chocolates. How do you expect the US to become more health conscious and maybe not be perceived as a country that puts junk food before health? Well, my first thought would be to replace some of these candy stores with a health food joint. Not only is it disappointing for those that care what they’re putting into their body, but it also solidifies international travelers stereotypes on Americans. What is the first thing they see when they enter the US? Panda Express, Shake Shack, Pizza Joints, Buffalo Wild Wings, and enough Chocolate stores to feed a small country.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect the airport to replace every restaurant with strictly health food options. I enjoy a treat every now and then, no doubt! But I just wish that after a long weekend of pigging out on Holiday food, I could come to the airport and help myself to a fresh, hardy salad – not some crappy salad from Mcdonalds. Anyway, if you’ve found yourself in this position, the key is to not dread on what could be there, but rather, make do with what you have.
First of all, I’ll always make sure to cover all grounds of the gates in my terminal before choosing the first restaurant I see. This is great for two reasons: 1) you’re getting an extra workout in by walking up and down the terminal and 2) the obvious, it’s smart to scope out all food possibilities before settling! Check out some of my safe bets for airport snackin:
Snacks to Go:
Yogurt – preferably try and stick with a Greek yogurt (any of those magazine stores such as Hudson are usually stocked with a few Chobani flavors). Greek yogurt is packed with protein, therefor keeping you full longer.
Granola Bars – You can pretty much always count on finding the following granola bars stocked up at airports: KIND Bars, Cliff Bars, Luna Bars, and Larabars. Avoid granola bars that are high in fake sugars like Nature Valley Bars, Special K Bars AND bars that are quote “packed with protein” – because there’s a TON of fake crap in there : )
Nuts – avoid nuts that are covered in any form of chocolate unless you have REALLY good self control, which I certainly do not. Just remember the serving size rule with nuts! Approximately ¼ a cup of nuts equates between 180 and 250 calories, so be smart!
If you’re craving something salty – Most airports typically always carry Sabra’s brand of Pretzel Crisps and Hummus (again, hummus is high in protein so this hardy snack will keep you full for a while). You can also snack on Pop Chips, “Fit” Popcorn or any popcorn light in sodium, with limited “extra” ingredients.
Organic Peeled Fruit – The only ingredients are organic fruits! Yummy sweet snack to nom on and super low in calories. My favorite is the mixed bags of banana, mango, and pineapple.
For sandwiches – Stick to wheat, seeded rye, or sourdough – again, these carbs will fuel you up. Also make sure to have some veggies and some protein on that as well! Cheese is okay – but try asking for them to keep it to just one slice!
Coffee and tea – coffee is a great filler, try to avoid any of those super sugary drinks. If you are craving something other than coffee, try an almond milk latte with sugar-free vanilla syrup from Peets!
Green Juices/Smoothies – If you’re lucky you be able to find some green juice/smoothie options stocked up in a nearby Starbucks!
Find ANY salad possible! You can never go wrong with greens : ) Just make sure there’s enough protein on there to fill you up!
Lastly, my rule of thumb when it comes to snacking is always looking at the ingredients. I don’t care about the calories, I just care what I’m putting in my body. If you’re eating healthy foods, high in fiber, protein and other healthy nutrients – the calories shouldn’t matter as much. So when in doubt, check the ingredients and make sure you know what they all are!
Oh and remember to try and stand up/stretch as much as possible while at the airport. Don’t automatically go in sit at your gate an hour before boarding. You’ll already be sitting for multiple hours on the flight as it is! Maybe even try and sneak in some secret squats in the bathroom…. (I’ve totally never done that before………….)
Hope you find this helpful during your holiday travels!