How to Eat Healthier at the Airport

Written by

Stacey French
How to Eat Healthier at the Airport

With all of the security rules today when you are flying, do you feel like you have to eat from the airport’s food court? Or worse…. the meals they serve in the air (when they actually do, which is rare nowadays!)? Did you know that there are ways that you can easily maintain a healthy lifestyle (on a budget no less) while you are traveling? It’s true!

When you go to the airport, it seems like everywhere you turn, they are telling you what you can’t do. Don’t leave your bag unattended. Get there at least two hours early.

No liquids of any kind (unless you have the very safe ziplock bag with segmented liquids… why is this necessary?!)

What you might not know is that most foods are not part of this security rule. The big rules you have to watch out for are that the food has to be x-rayed, and for that reason, it needs to be contained.

No one wants a loose sandwich going through the x-ray machine! If it’s a whole food (like fruit) you don’t have to wrap it up, but if you take a bite, you do.

This means that you can bring almost any item with you if you plan accordingly. The big thing to watch out for is it can’t be a liquid or gel type food (ie: soup, bottle of ketchup, etc.) but you could bring a packet of ketchup in your pre-approved liquid-filled ziplock bag! For more on the official rules, visit the TSA Site.

Another thing a lot of folks don’t consider is that you could bring a cooler bag (I like this one) as one of your carry-on bags. This is very helpful if you’re going to be experiencing a long flight with layovers. Now that most domestic flights don’t offer meal service, if you’re in a position like I was last time I flew, it could be a very long time before you can get outside food.

When we flew to Vegas from Texas a couple of years ago, we flew first to Atlanta (hello, backwards!), then to Denver, then to Vegas.

The flight was cheaper, but what should have only taken a couple of hours took more than 8 to get there. And we only had a choice between peanuts or pretzels. If there’s any turbulence, you can forget that too!

Luckily, I was prepared! I didn’t know about the rules of bringing in cold items like a sandwich or a cooler bag (I will implement that next time, though!) but I packed several meal replacement bars, trail mix and fruits. I also brought a big empty water bottle that I was able to fill up once I went through security.

Everything costs more once they have you trapped in the terminal, so I saved several dollars in drinks

just by doing that one thing alone.

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of preparing your own food, you aren’t worried about the markup, or you need that extra carry-on bag for other reasons, you do have the option of buying food at the airport as well. Though the sweet smell of Cinnabon may be calling your name, there are definitely healthier choices available, you just have to look a little harder.

Most of the terminals have fruit and yogurt for sale, and also have restaurants where you can get a full meal if you have time before your flight. Once you get your meal, you can bring it with you on the plane.

So if you don’t know if you have time (or a big enough stomach), you can take 1/2 to go for later. The key is to make sure you have a meal with plenty of fiber and protein in it to keep you full until you get to your destination so you aren’t tempted by all of the “food court” style choices that are often thousands of calories, fat and sugar.

No matter which way you go, there are options for you. And if you save enough calories and money using the above choices, you might even have room in your (calorie) budget for a nice drink before you go!

Saving Sanely shares her journey of how she uses money-saving tips to work her way from 500k in debt down to zero while still eating healthy and enjoying life. Follow her story at here!



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This guide was published on September 15, 2015, and last modified on September 15, 2015.

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