Goodness On-the-Go: Staying Healthy In an Airport

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Photo: Courtesy of Christian Deknock

Travel is an unavoidable and enjoyable part of life, but staying committed to a healthy diet or specific nutritional needs can be tough when you don’t have access to your own kitchen, your favorite grocery store, or your go-to restaurants. Goodness has put together a series of tips to help you make healthier choices when on the go, starting with when you’re at the airport.

Pack Healthy Snacks

This one’s a given, but taking a Tupperware full of healthy meals isn’t always an option. Fresh or dried fruit, nuts, small packets of nut butters or oats, and nutritionally-sound granola bars are small, light, easy to slip into your carry-on or handbag, and can work wonders in helping to stave off hunger and cravings. Making sure there’s a decent amount of protein in your snacks and meals will go a long way in helping you feel and stay full.

Get Enough Sleep

When we’re tired, sleep deprived, or jet lagged, our brains tend to crave unhealthy foods, and research has shown that being in this state makes us more likely to associate junk food with pleasure, reward, and the instantaneous comfort and temporary energy boost that it can provide. Making sure that you get a good night’s rest before you travel, and getting some sleep in transit (taking your own neck pillow, socks, and blanket can make a world of difference) can help beat these urges.

Ask for Substitutions

If you need a real meal but can’t find much to munch on in an airport restaurant, be creative in asking for simple substitutions. For instance, ask for a burger without the bun or wrapped in lettuce, or swap out the side of fries for vegetables or a salad. An English muffin is a lighter choice than a bagel, and apple slices can replace crunchy crackers.

Hit Up the Juice Bars

Struggling to find an outlet that sells something other than a sandwich or burger? Most airports now offer a smoothie or juice bar, and one of these blends can be just as filling as a meal. Often, these outlets will even allow you to simply order a selection of cut-up fruit to munch on, if they don’t already sell these in readymade portions alongside salads and the like.

Eat Before You Travel

Waking up 30 minutes earlier so that you can grab breakfast at your hotel, or having a quick bite of dinner before you head to the airport, can keep you full enough to avoid having to eat at the airport. This gives you access to a much wider choice of food, and it means you can even skip having to eat at the airport altogether.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water to make sure that you don’t overeat isn’t just a myth. Experts claim that we often think we’re hungry when our bodies are actually just thirsty, and it’s a scientifically proven fact that dehydration symptoms are commonly mistaken for hunger. Drinking a tall glass of water before your meal and staying regularly hydrated can help to ensure that you’re only eating when you’re actually hungry, or only eating as much as you actually need to feel full.

Stick to Your Schedule

It can be easy to forget what time it is when you’re traveling. Whether you’re in a different time zone or just bolstered by the excitement of travel, it’s become part of the common routine to head to an airport restaurant for a bite and a beverage after you’ve checked in and are waiting to board your flight. Ask yourself: Would you normally be eating a meal at this time, or could you just do with enjoying a cup of tea instead?

Keep Walking

Standing in long queues for ages or sitting down for hours on end while in the airport (especially after a flight) can wreak havoc on your circulation. Stretching your legs and getting the blood flowing will really help to perk up your energy and fight fatigue – and in doing so will allow your brain to be alert enough to help you make healthier choices when it comes to food.