1) Airports are still in the dark ages when it comes to healthy offerings to passengers.
2) Why you feel bloated and icky after you fly.
3) How sodium can ruin your flat tummy and your bathroom experience.
What’s the worst thing for me to eat?
Wherever you are, buyers beware! Inspections of almost 800 restaurants at 10 airports found violations. At one airport 77% of the restaurants had at least ONE critical violation, some of which included rodent droppings and kitchens without soap! Being sick while traveling is as much fun as having your toenails peeled off one by one so it pays to be extra cautious.
Beware the Grab and Go Cooler!
Grab and Go Coolers are notorious for not having appropriate temperatures for meat products. If you purchase from a Grab and Go Cooler, do not let it sit in your bag until you are safely on board, the plane has taken off, and you have received your drink. This could easily be an hour or more after you have purchased it and chances are the meat wasn’t stored at the correct temperature to begin with. At least do this….if you have purchased anything with mayo, meat or eggs, eat it when you buy it. People blame food poisoning all the time when they get sick while traveling but often it can be prevented. Would you make yourself a chicken sandwich with mayo and let it sit on your kitchen table for over an hour before you ate it? Doubtful. Why do we do it when we’re traveling?
Common eats that should only be treats.
If you’re traveling for business you are not on vacation so the idea of eating treats every day while you’re gone is bunk. I used to do this when I first started traveling. It’s easy to get into the habit. I lived on frozen yogurt, soft pretzels and iced coffee drinks. Sodium+ sugar + caffeine = recipe for air travel disaster.
Soft pretzels and giant muffins are 400-500 calories of refined carbs. Soft-serve frozen yogurt is highly processed, filled with sugar or artificial sweeteners and often has artificial flavors. For the love of cows, it comes in a bag in liquid form! Skip it or have one scoop of real ice cream instead. Fancy coffee drinks are sugar, caffeine, calories and sodium. This is a dessert. Treat it as one.
Other foods high in sodium include those that are heavily sauced (the stuff masquerading as Chinese) as well as processed meat and hot dogs. Sodium + dehydration + lack of movement + cabin pressure = a trip for Dulcolax.
Ok…got it. Now what do I eat?
Typically, airports aren’t where you get your best meal of the day so don’t expect to get exactly what you want, prepared the way you want it. However, you might be able to find some good choices if you’re willing to plan a little and also use iFly to see what is available in the terminal you’ll be hanging out or connecting in. Salads with beans, hummus and edamame are good choices. Steamed mixed vegetables, non-meat sushi (unless they are making it fresh. Remember, Grab and Go Cooler is not ideal for raw meats) or fish if you have access to a sit-down restaurant. I’m not including meat because I try to eat only grass-fed beef or meat without hormones and antibiotics and I don’t know of any airport chains that care about that yet.
If you’re gluten-free due to Celiac or Hashimoto’s Disease like I am, download the apps Find Me Gluten Free and Fooducate – Gluten Free edition. Super helpful when determining which restaurants and foods are safe to eat.
When I’m packing from home I’ll freeze individual packs of Wholly Guacamole 100 and hummus and throw them in my liquids bag along with some nut butter packets. I’ve never had security make me throw them away if I had them in my liquids bag. I also take my own vegetables and fruits because they are such rip-offs at the airports. If I’m at the client and I can tell via iFly that there isn’t going to be something for me to eat, I’ll stop at a grocery on my way and pick something up. Yeah, the grocery! A place people forget when they’re traveling.
Next up, installment three – airport exercise opportunities
Marcey Rader, The MoPro Coach, is a Lifestyle Trainer specializing in helping road warriors and mobile professionals to be healthy and productive on the road. She is a Certified Personal Trainer with a B.S in Exercise Science and a Certified Productive Environment Specialist. She spent over a decade traveling for the clinical research industry and understands first-hand that business travel isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle. She is the creator of the Jetsetter Exercise Kit, the 25 in 25® and 10 by 10® exercise challenges and author of Hack the Mobile Lifestyle: 6 Steps to Work Well and Play More! Sign up for a free video series and learn: What to do when you first enter a hotel room, rest stop workouts to fix your numb butt, travel accessories to keep you organized and your legs from catching on fire and much more! Free Video Series