Healthy Airport Options

What to eat at the airport that will satisfy your appetite and not pack on the pounds.

Image courtesy Mango, Spring/Summer 2011

We’ve all been there—you didn’t get a direct flight, so now you have three hours to kill in an airport and are so hungry that you’ll eat whatever is at the nearest kiosk. While indulging in a not-so-healthy option isn’t the end of the world, if you’re a regular jet-setter or prefer to avoid the bloated tummy the accompanies many of the salt laden options you could consume, making healthy food choices is your best bet. Craving sugar candy or maybe a bag of chips? We’ll help you find an alternative that will satisfy your craving and your appetite.

You Want: Sugary and sweet.

Why You Should Think Twice: When you’re tired your may want a boost with the help of some sugar and caffeine, but it will eventually backfire and that temporary rush will leave you feeling zapped.

What to Eat:

  • Jamba Juice Berry UpBEET 16oz Smoothie (230 calories, 1g fat) + Soy Protein Boost (30 calories)
    Get a whole meal in one at Jamba Juice with one of their fruit and vegetable smoothies, which contain one serving of veggies and two servings of fruit. Add a protein boost to ensure you stay full longer.
  • Au Bon Pain Mixed Nuts (180 calories, 16g fat) + Large Fruit Cup (140 calories, 1g fat)
    The fruit cup should help satisfy your sweet craving, while the protein and fat in the nuts will keep you satiated.

Mango-AirportStyleYou Want: Grease.

Why You Should Think Twice: Aside from the fact that fatty foods you find in fast food restaurants have large amounts of trans fat, sodium, saturated fat and little nutrients, once you down your craving your body will be trying to digest it while you sit on the plane. Plus all of that added salt won’t help you during your flight, as plane’s are notoriously dry and dehydrating. Upon arrival don’t be surprised if you feel bloated and tired.

What to Eat:

  • Starbucks Turkey Bacon & White Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich (320 calories, 7g fat)
    The cheese and turkey bacon will definitely help you with the grease craving, but the English muffin is multigrain and they’ve swapped eggs for egg whites to lower the fat content, so you can actually enjoy guilt free.
  • McDonald’s One Chicken Fajita (200 calories, 5g fat) + Side Garden Fresh Salad (40 calories, 1.5g fat) + Renee’s Ravin’ Raspberry Vinaigrette (60 calories, 3g fat)
    You’d be surprised just how much sodium is in some of the salads here (the Spicy Thai has more than 600mg). While it’s not a burger, you’re better off with a fajita and pairing it with a garden side salad.

You Want: Carb goodness.

Why You Should Think Twice: Many of the serving sizes you find in fast food outlets are double or even triple a standard serving, plus the amount of fat would astound (we’ve seen muffins with more than 20g of fat). Without any fibre or protein and likely a hefty amount of sugar, you’ll be crashing hard a few hours after you indulge.

What to Eat:

  • Tim Horton’s Chocolate Dip Donut (210 calories, 8g fat)
    If you must indulge in something sweet and carb-y, this is your best bet. It has half the amount of calories of almost every muffin on the menu and three times less sugar than most.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts Apple Pie (270 calories, 13g fat)
    A perfect comfort food, this warm apple pie is a healthier option than a bagel, muffin or donut here. While it’s not low in sugar, the 12g is has isn’t awful either, considering many granola bars have a comparable amount.

You Want: Ice cream.

Why You Should Think Twice: Packed with sugar and milk fat, you’ll be crashing hard in no time. Frozen yogurt is often a great option — assuming you don’t top it with cookies and candy — otherwise you might have well had the ice cream.

What to Eat:

  • Pinkberry Original Frozen Yogurt Small (140 calories, zero fat)
    As long as you top with fruit (vs the candy toppings), this is a great option to satisfy your need for something a little creamy and sweet.
  • Starbucks Strawberry & Yogurt Parfait (300 calories, 3.5g fat)
    Made with non-fat yogurt and topped with crunchy granola, as a sweet yogurt goes, this is pretty good. It’s not that high in protein (7g), so you may want to have a small handful of almonds or other nuts to keep full.

Images courtesy Mango Spring/Summer 2011 Lookbook.