With all this traveling through airports we’ve done lately I realized one thing: it doesn’t have to be difficult to eat healthy while traveling. It’s all about choices and planning ahead. The first trip to Texas caught me off guard. I did not think ahead about food choices.
We flew out of PDX around lunchtime. I should have brought food with me but I didn’t think about it. I ended up buying a sandwich at Big Town Hero in the airport to carry onto the plane with me. It was expensive and higher in calories than I’d normally eat for lunch. It was kind of my only option.
One of the problems with flying is that you often get stuck in an airport for several hours with waiting, layovers, delays. It’s hard not to just plop down in a bar and eat to kill time. We did that on our way home from Dallas the first Texas trip. We had a 3 hour layover on our way home so we sat in a Cantina and munched on chips and guacamole.
In an effort to try and make better choices, Michael and I split one entree instead of stuffing ourselves with two big entrees. I ate one enchilada and the rice, Michael ate one enchilada and the beans. It worked well.
The other problem with traveling is that I often want to try the local cuisine. One of the funnest parts about going on vacation somewhere else is trying new things. When we went to Texas I had two goals: 1) eat good Mexican food; 2) eat local BBQ. I knew I’d be indulging in more food than what my normal diet is but I was okay with that. It was part of the experience of going to a new city. It was the 10% of my 90/10 Rule and it was worth it!
So how do we make better choices when flying?
How to Eat Healthier When Flying
1. Skip the alcohol (or limit it). If flying makes you nervous one drink can sometimes help. I try not to drink too much while waiting for my flight because it just won’t make me feel good cramped on a plane.
2. Drink a ton of water. Unfortunately with the new TSA rules you can’t bring in water so you do have to buy it at the airport (for $$$!) but it’s worth it. Skip the sodas and drink water. Flying also dehydrates people. Another good reason to bring a bottle of water on the plane is that it’s nice to have in case the flight is delayed on the runway (sometimes for hours!).
3. Bring your own snacks for flights that are at weird hours. If it’s not a “meal” time and you don’t want to spend the money on airline food, try eating protein bars. I brought some Luna bars to snack on.
4. If you have to buy food at the airport, try some of the lower calorie options (like McDonald’s new low calorie breakfast options). Yogurt with granola, oatmeal, scrambled eggs for breakfast, etc.
5. Pack your own meals. Easily transportable things like homemade sandwiches are good. Bagels with cream cheese and a slice of ham, simple peanut butter and jelly are good too. Pick up a wrap on your way to the airport for a lower calorie lunch option.
6. Avoid the high calorie treats that smell so good–giant pretzels, greasy pizza and cookies the size of your head.
Some Other Snack Ideas:
- pack nuts – walnuts and almonds are best
- pack a small bag of pieces or chunks of dark chocolate
- crunchy pretzels and a string cheese
- pack fruits and veggies
- carrots and hummus (3 ounces or smaller for TSA rules)
- instant cup of soups (when they do the beverage service ask for hot water in your cup of soup)
- pack a small zip-lock bag of raisins or dried fruit – when you want to taste something sweet
- bring leftovers on the plane (on our trip to Phoenix I packed leftover pizza)
The other issue with traveling is the disruption of normal fitness routines. I always pack my workout gear with me and I do what I can. I’ll workout in the hotel gym, swim in any pool I have access to, or go for a run.
If you have a long layover, the best way to get in some activity is to walk the airport. When Michael and I had several hours to kill in the Dallas airport we walked. DFW was so big that we probably could not have walked the whole thing. Walking is better than nothing! Or run the stairs in the airport. Security might look at ya weird but hey, do what you can. 🙂
When Michael and I flew back to Dallas I was prepared. I packed us both lunches for the plane ride. We had leftover pizza so I packed it in foil and put it in my carry on back. It wasn’t the most ideal choice but it was what we had as a leftover. It worked!
QUESTION: How do you stay on track when flying and traveling?