Airports are bustling hubs of travel, but when you’re an athlete committed to maintaining a balanced diet, navigating the sea of fast-food chains and sugary snacks can be daunting. However, it’s entirely possible to make nutritious choices that support your athletic performance while on the go. In this blog, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide on healthy eating at the airport, ensuring you stay on top of your nutrition without compromising your goals.
Eating a healthy breakfast when traveling can be challenging due to limited options and the temptation of fast food and sugary snacks. However, it’s important to prioritize nutritious choices that will provide you with sustained energy and help you recover. If you need to grab something at the airport and nothing else is around, see if the airport has a Starbucks. A few go-to items you can pick up depending on the availability include oatmeal, spinach + feta + egg white breakfast wrap, chicken and quinoa protein bowl, a tomato and mozzarella sandwich, or an egg and cheese protein box. All the nutrition info can be found online or via the Starbucks app so you can easily plan ahead.
Avoid sugary cereals, pastries, and high-fat, high-sugar coffee drinks, as they can lead to energy crashes and may not support your nutritional needs. It’s also a good idea to bring your own healthy snacks from home to supplement your airport meal if necessary.
Airport dining options can vary, but here are some choices for lunch/ dinner that can help you maintain a balanced and nutritious diet:
Grilled Chicken or Turkey: Look for restaurants or kiosks that serve grilled chicken or turkey breast. These lean protein sources can be served with vegetables or on whole-grain bread for a balanced meal.
Salad Bar: Many airports have salad bars where you can create your own salad with fresh vegetables, lean protein (such as grilled chicken or tofu), and a variety of toppings. Opt for dressing on the side.
Quinoa or Brown Rice Bowls: Look for places that offer quinoa or brown rice bowls with vegetables and your choice of lean protein. This can be a filling and balanced meal.
Wraps or Sandwiches: Choose whole-grain wraps or bread with lean protein options like turkey, chicken, or grilled vegetables. Add in veggies for fiber and avoid high-calorie, high-fat sauces.
Bottled Water: Staying well-hydrated is crucial for athletes. Choose water over sugary beverages or excessive caffeine. Carry an empty reusable water bottle through security and refill it after you pass. Avoid sugary beverages and opt for plain water, herbal tea, or infused water for a more refreshing choice.
Avoid Fast Food: Try to avoid fast-food restaurants that offer primarily fried and processed foods, as they are typically high in unhealthy fats and sugars. Processed foods like fast food, sugary snacks, and fried items can wreak havoc on performance. These foods are often high in empty calories and low in essential nutrients. Steer clear of foods advertised as “fried or pan fried, breaded or crispy, buttery, creamed, or gravy.”
Athletes can maintain a balanced diet while traveling through the airport by focusing on nutritious choices, planning ahead, and staying mindful of portion sizes and meal timing. Prioritizing macronutrients (carbs, protein, and healthy fats) along with proper hydration, will help you stay on track with your nutritional goals without compromising your health and performance.
Remember that your diet plays a crucial role in your athletic success, so make the effort to choose wisely and enjoy your travels with a healthy and happy stomach.