While healthier options have been slowly colonizing airports in some bigger cities, you are usually stuck with the crappiest of crappy food choices. And they’re not cheap. I often take so much food that I am flagged and interrogated—haha! I don’t want crappy airport food, and that is my answer.
So here is how to travel healthy:
- Bring a bottle, but not filled with water. Instead, grate some ginger into it (peel first using the back of a spoon) and add a teaspoon of honey. This will pass security. Once inside, ask a barista to fill the bottle with hot water and voilà! you are set for your trip. Remember to tip her/him! Alternate: coffee grains, or if you’re feeling indulgent, cocoa powder. My favorite is Dandy Blend, which is a combination of dandelion root, chicory root, and beet root. Tastes very much like coffee with a slightly sweet aftertaste. I love not having to buy overpriced water at the airport! These will all make it through security…without water, of course.
- Carry a cooler bag. They come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some good choices.
- Fill up on Fruits. Choose ones that will hold up to being tossed around a bit. So, not bananas, peaches, or soft plums. Berries, grapes, and tomatoes are a good choice only if packed in a hard container. Cut melon or mango are terrific if you can prepare in advance. Apples (pre-washed) and clementines are always reliable.
- Don’t forget veggies. This probably won’t occur to you so I’m thrilled to break the news: avocados are perfect! You want foods that are filling. and too much fruit means too much sugar. Avocado can be cut in half with a plastic knife and scooped out with a spoon (which you’ll pick up at a concession before you board). Pre-cut cucumbers, carrots, and celery work well and can be accompanied by a dip like guac or hummous. Buy little stainless steel containers for this and you will be glad you did. I also bring snap peas, raw string beans, sweet peppers (you can often find a container of small ones with mixed colors), and jicama (pre-cut into strips).
- Candy-like carbs. Sweet potato that has been baked for two hours (with skin) and cubed makes a delicious snack cold, easily eaten with a fork or your fingers. Cooked or raw sweet corn is also a good, filling option and very easy to transport. Bring dental floss–haha!
- Chomp on nuts. Knock yourself out. Any kind you like. As long as they’re NOT roasted in vegetable oil. Dry roasted or raw. Salted is fine. I bring them in little brown bags, but metal containers are also great.
- Chocolate cheers you. Why not? As long as it’s dark (over 60% cocoa is best) and doesn’t contain lots of nasty ingredients, a little bit is actually good for you.
- Deli meat makes a meal. If you can bring a soft cooler bag there are hundreds of options and some just look like a purse), you can carry on meat! I often bring beef sausage or other pre-packaged meat rounds. Just make sure there are no nitrates or nitrites. Best to toss what’s leftover at the end of your trip because your ice block will slowly melt.
- Cheese and egg. The fat in cheese will help keep you satiated. Cut chunks from different blocks and put in a sandwich bag or small container. Salted hard-boiled eggs are quick and easy to prepare and very filling.
- Power bars for a quick fix. Note that most of these have more sugar than a slice of birthday cake and a long list of unsavory ingredients, so READ LABELS! My personal favorites are Thunderbird Real Food bars (with no added sugar) and Epic Bars.(interesting meat combinations).
- Olives and Pickles. A flavorful counterbalance to fruit. The olives will add some healthy fat, and pickles (in brine, not vinegar) are a natural probiotic (more on this in a coming post).
Warning 1: Only bring small freezer blocks like this or this, or they will be confiscated at security
Warning 2: Individual-size full fat yogurts like Siggi’s are ideal snacking foods but all yogurts over 2.5 ounces (which is all of them) will be taken away. Eat it at the gate!
p.s. My 10-year old son just informed me that avocado is technically a fruit.😜