Why do we eat unhealthy airport food?

Easy. Because we’re stressed, we’re tired, and we don’t want any more inconvenience. Those travelling for holidays may be in ‘holiday mode’ from the moment their feet touch the terminal, which means cocktails and unhealthy food!

Face it. The airport is a stressful place! Being faced with the loss of control, lines, crowds, being under time constraints, and the perhaps subconscious anxiety of your plane crashing or some other airborne disaster makes most people a bit nasty while they travel. I’m getting anxious just writing this.

However stressed the airport makes us,  and even when you’re on vacation, it’s still important to source out the healthier choices in the terminal. Here are some ways to shift your thinking about poor food choices as a result of the following situations:

But I’m on Vacation!

You may be on vacation, but your body has no idea. Being on vacation means that you can definitely relax the rules a bit, but getting drunk at the airport bar or eating a double cheeseburger with a huge milkshake isn’t going to make you feel any MORE on vacation.  In fact, it’s going to help start your vacation..with a stomachache and one uncomfortable flight. Another side effect of eating a low fiber, high fat diet is constipation, and flying only compounds that.

When dietitians go on vacation, we still follow the rules for the most part, but they’re more relaxed: and I’m not the only one who does this, according to this published article.

I Don’t Care, I’m Stressed.

After all the hoops you’ve jumped through to get to your gate, you should be stressed! But reaching for that huge corned beef sandwich is the wrong approach. High fat meals combined with stress can actually cause your metabolism to slow, resulting in potential weight gain – especially in women, says this recent study. So don’t reach for those fries just yet.

Instead, try to find snacks that are high in the chill-out mineral, magnesium, which will help to keep you calm. High magnesium foods include nuts and seeds, avocado, edamame, bananas, and yogurt. And all of these make amazing snacks, too – whether you buy them at the airport or bring them from home in your carryon. A slice of whole grain Ezekiel bread with avocado and cheddar is my mom’s go-to travel snack, and it’s now mine.

Eating Healthy at the Airport is So Expensive!

Ah, my least favorite excuse. Airport food is expensive, it’s true – and even fast food chains have been known to jack up their prices in the terminal vs at the mall. If you really want to eat healthy, bring your own snacks from home; cheese and crackers, trail mix, a sandwich – anything that travels well. That way, you won’t be spending money on any food, healthy or unhealthy. If you choose not to bring your own snacks and have to buy something, you might as well choose health and spend your money on nutritious choices. You’ll feel better for it.

Happy Travels!




Abby Langer

Registered Dietican, Brand Ambassador, Consultant, Abbylangernutrition.com

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