What to Eat at the Airport

Whether you're headed home for the holidays, taking off on a long-planned vacation, or traveling for business, being on the road can wreak havoc with the best-laid eating and exercise plans. Airports in particular can be a diet disaster-cinnamon buns, buttery pretzels, and bags of chips and candy. Even items that seem healthy like sandwiches found at Au Bon Pain are often loaded with high-fat condiments like mayonnaise and bacon and pack as much as 700-800 calories and more than 20 grams of fat per sandwich! What's more is that these sandwiches come pre-made so you do not have the option of asking them to hold the mayo.

The key to staying on track with your diet is planning ahead and always keeping healthy snacks stashed in your carry-on bag. Forgetting to pack healthy snacks can make high-calorie foods sold in the terminal very tempting especially if your flight is delayed. Start your vacation off right, with these simple tips.

Tips for Purchasing Food at Airports:

1) Stay away from any sandwiches laden with heavy mayonnaise or bacon. Also avoid tuna and egg salads, as these are often very high in fat due to the mayonnaise. If available, opt for sandwiches with veggies and lean protein such as turkey or chicken with little to no mayonnaise.

2) Some delis or restaurants offer grilled chicken or a garden salad with dressing on the side, which are generally good picks.

3) Yogurts can often be purchased at airport food stands. Choose low-fat, reduced sugar versions. To add some crunch and fiber, bring individual portions of fiber one cereal (put 1/2 cup servings into Ziploc bags) and sprinkle on yogurt.

4) Fresh fruit or fruit salads sold at many stands are always a good, low-fat bet.

5) Many airport stores sell large bags of nuts mixed with dried fruit. While nuts in moderation, are great sources of heart-healthy fat, one serving may range from 130-160 calories and 13 grams of fat, and many bags contain as many as 10 servings! If you tend to go overboard with portions, you would probably be better off bringing your own nuts in pre-measured amounts (you can put them in plastic baggies or Ziploc bags). A serving of nuts is about 1 ounce (23 almonds, 49 kernels of pistachios, or 30 peanuts).

If healthy food is nowhere in sight and your stomach is growling, grab a tall skim latte. The milk has some protein as well as calcium and may be enough to fill you up. Some portable snack options include:

• Raw nuts (but keep the portions to about 1/4 cup) and soy nuts • Fresh or dried fruit • Pretzels • Low-sugar granola bars • Low-fat energy bars • Mini carrots • Bottled water

Foods to Pack

Calories Fat (g) Sat fat (g) Carbs (g) Fiber (g)
Thomas' Light Multigrain English Muffin w/ 1 Tbsp peanut butter and 1 Tbsp sugar free jelly 200 8 1 32 9
Glennys Lowfat Soy Crisps 140 3 0 18 3
Gnu bar 150 3 1 32 12
Fiber One Cereal(1/2 cup portions) 60 1 0 25 14
Fiber One Bar 140 4 1.5 29 9
Kashi TLC BarHoney Almond Flax 140 5 .5 19 4
Raw veggies (1 cup of carrots, cucumber slices & bell peppers) 50 0 0 11 3
Med Apple 80 0 0 19 3.3
Med Banana 105 0 0 27 3
Scandinavian Bran Crisps (per cracker) 16 0 0 3 3
Laughing cow cheese (1 wedge) Note: does not need to be refrigerated 35 2 1 1 0
Bumble Bee Sensations (Tuna) Easy Peel Bowls Sundried Tomato & Basil 130 5 1 2 0
Almonds (1 oz) 160 14 1 6 3
Pistachios (1 oz) 160 13 1.5 7 3

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of

. She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto