Smart Airport Dining That Will Get You Through a Long Trip

With many airports no longer serving meals, rushed connections between flights, and limited options for dining in many airports, it can be difficult to keep up your energy and eat healthfully on a long flight. Smart airport dining choices will ensure you feel better during travel and can make it to your destination without relying on a packet of airline peanuts to keep you going.

Eat Before You Leave

Eating a solid meal before you leave for the airport will help get you through security and boarding, and make sure you don't wind up hungry if you find yourself behind schedule and without time to eat at the airport. Eating at home is also considerably less expensive than dining out, so you'll save a little money from your travel budget. Early morning flights may make it more difficult to have breakfast before you leave, but preparing something the night before can make it easier during the morning rush.

Pack Some Snacks

You can't bring beverages through security, but you can bring food that's intended for consumption on the flight. Packing some snacks in your carry-on bag will make sure you don't find yourself stuck with nothing to eat if you don't have time in between connections or are on a very long flight. Smart snacks to take with you on a flight are those that won't melt and will travel well.

  • Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
  • Granola bars or energy bars
  • Fruit like apples and bananas

If you're traveling with children, snacks are even more important for keeping them happy and fed on a long flight. Grab snacks your kids will eat, such as dry cereal and crackers. Chewing during takeoff and landing can help prevent air pressure changes from becoming uncomfortable to a child's ears. Snacks are available for purchase at the airport, but are likely to be considerable more expensive.

What To Eat at The Airport

Dining options at the airport aren't always the healthiest, with a lot of fast food choices. Especially if you're short on time, it can be hard to get a real meal on the go. Unfortunately, poor eating choices on the run can leave you hungry before you land or cause gastrointestinal distress when you are sitting for many hours after you eat. Your personal tolerance for such foods will be a factor, but it's often best to avoid very spicy or greasy foods when you are traveling. Smart food choices include balanced meals that will keep you full without being uncomfortable. Look for meals that offer:

  • A good source of protein
  • Filling vegetables for healthy energy
  • Reasonable portion sizes

Some choices include healthy sandwiches and wraps, fruit and yogurt cups, soups and salads. Sandwiches and wraps make a good choice since they keep and travel well – you can consume one half of a sandwich and easily bring the second half along on your flight to enjoy later. This can be especially helpful on a very long flight.

Foods To Avoid

Although it may be tempting to snack of foods like candy and potato chips, these foods don't provided sustainable energy and are mainly empty calories. They can provide a quick snack, but won't keep you full for long. Foods high in sugar can also result in a crash later that leaves you low on energy. Again, very spicy or greasy foods can result in discomfort later, and take care to avoid foods that cause you any personal discomfort, especially before a long flight. If you have food allergies, be sure to ask before consuming anything that could contain an allergen, as medical assistance for an allergic reaction is difficult to obtain once an airplane is in flight.

Obtaining Food on Board

Depending on your airline and the length of your flight, food may be available for purchase on board your flight. The options may range from light snacks to full meals, most of which are paid for when you are in flight. In some cases you may pre-order and pre-pay for a meal to be served during your flight. Long international flights often have the most choices for in-flight dining, while short flights may offer only small snacks or no food options at all. Be sure to verify what will be available on your flight before you go so that you don't find yourself on a flight hungry with no available options.