It’s shocking to think about the thousands of people that pass through airports every day, and how limited the healthy eating options are. I’ve spent significant time in airports – sometimes in a rush, sometimes with time to kill. So whether you need a snack to tide you over for a short flight or a significant meal to get you through a long travel day, I’ve got you covered.
My number one go-to is something you’ll be able to find at nearly every airport: oatmeal. If you’re traveling in the morning, you should definitely be able to find it for breakfast. And Starbucks serves it all day; you might have to wait in a hellishly long line but when you order, the barista quickly adds water to a cup of oats and you’re good to go! Oatmeal is an excellent source of fiber, which keeps will keep you full. It’s also is low-glycemic food, meaning you’ll avoid a spike and inevitable blood sugar crash, which leads to crappy food cravings. Oats also provide a healthy dose of minerals like manganese and magnesium, along with a slew of other nutrients that are proven to support cardiovascular health.
Are you on board yet??? Oats on their own are pretty boring. Add half a banana, some nuts or nut butter, maybe some sunflower seeds, or a handful of berries and you’re golden. Many restaurants, Starbucks included, will offer you brown sugar too. Huh? You don’t need that ish! Especially when you’re adding fruit with natural sugar. If you’re going through San Diego: Banker’s Hill Restaurant has delish oatmeal in Terminal 1 (until 10 a.m.), and a few places like Pannikin in Terminal 2 offer it on the menu as well. You’re likely getting quick or instant oats at these places…which are not as nutrient-dense as old-fashioned steel cut oats, because they’ve been through additional processing. Still, it’s a much better option than a greasy breakfast sandwich.
Speedier snack options can be tricky. A good ground rule is to stick to the basics. Nuts. Not sugar-covered nuts. Yogurt. Not sugar-laden yogurt. Hummus is a great option, but it’s often paired with pretzels which, while obviously a delectable snack, offer pretty much no nutritional value. Bars are easy to grab and go, I get that. But when was the last time you ate a protein bar, fruit and nut bar, whatever, and thought: man, that was so satisfying! If you’re jonesing for chocolate, look for an option with 70% or higher cocoa to reap health benefits. I LOVE Skinny Dipped Almonds which are becoming more popular at airports – but they are crazy expensive if you’re buying them in the terminal. Those are a good option to pack if you’re organized enough to bring your own snacks. But if you’re in a bind and need to eat before your flight, now you know. Reach for those oats!