Traveling is hectic enough without having to think about what or where you are going to eat. Airports have never been appealing when it comes to healthy food choices. Most are filled with fast food chains and vending machines. All of which are known for their high fat menu items. I recently flew to Texas to celebrate my best friends wedding; my airport food options were a $7 turkey sandwich, that was mostly cold, hard white bread, and a $4 bottle of water. It was the leanest choice I could find.
The PCRM, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, along with nutrition experts, have been publishing an Airport Food Review since 2001. This report yields a percentage of restaurants that serve a healthier option. The restaurant must provide at least one entrée that is high in fiber, low in calories and free of cholesterol. Since 2001 the percentages of restaurants serving healthier meals have increased from 57% to 76%. Perhaps the restaurant industry is listening when we say we want better options. So, where are the healthiest airports (apparently not where I was flying out)?
Table 1:Airport Scores for 2012 Airport Score Healthful /Total1. Newark Liberty International Airport 92% 56/612. Las Vegas McCarran International Airport 91% 49/543. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport 90% 52/584. Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport 87% 53/615. (tie) Chicago O’Hare International Airport 84% 81/975. (tie) Miami International Airport 84% 63/756. (tie) Orlando International Airport 82% 36/446. (tie) Washington Dulles International Airport 82% 32/396. (tie) Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport 82% 49/607. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport 81% 76/948. (tie) Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport 78% 51/658. (tie) Charlotte Douglas International Airport 78% 35/459. (tie) San Francisco International Airport 77% 53/699. (tie) Denver International Airport 77% 47/6110. (tie) Los Angeles International Airport 76% 38/5010. (tie) Baltimore/ Washington International Airport 76% 29/3811. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport 69% 24/3512. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport 58% 45/78To view that entire report please visit Airport Food Review
Make better choices by choosing items from the following list.
o Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal 140 calories, 5 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber. Add nuts or dried fruit for additional nutrients.
o Multigrain Bagel 300 calories, 15 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber
o Spinach and Feta breakfast wrap 290 calories, 10 grams of fat, 19 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber
o Southwest grilled chicken salad 290 calories, 27 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat
o Southwest Dressing 100 calories, 6 grams of fat
o Plain small hamburger 250 calories, 9 grams of fat, 12 grams of protein, 1 gram of fiber
o Apple slices 15 calories
· Dunkin’ Donuts
o Egg white veggie flatbread 280 calories, 16 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber
o Jr. Hamburger 250 calories, 15 grams of protein, 1 gram of fiber
o Garden Salad 25 calories, 2 grams of fiber
o Small Chili 210 calories, 17 grams of protein, 6 grams fiber
o Plain Baked Potato 270 calories, 7 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber
· Smoothie King Always ask to Make it Skinny!
o Slim-N-Trim Strawberry 20 oz. 275 calories, 1 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiberMajority of restaurants will have a nutrition facts list on hand or simply use your fancy phone to visit their website. Your goal is find nutrient rich foods and avoid empty calorie foods. Ask yourself, “What nutrients am I getting from this?” Remember, calorie control is important, but what those calories give you is more important. So, if you have to opt for something with a little more calories but it is packed with nutrition (fiber, protein, vitamins & minerals) that’s fine! Your body knows what to do with that nutrition.
Note that you can carry on snacks and liquids less than 3.4 oz when flying. So pack your carry on with solid snacks like bananas, apples, trail mix, nuts, carrots,whole grain crackers, celery sticks and granola bars. Snacking on the flight will help keep your hunger under control so you are less likely to splurge on a big airport meal.
Happy Traveling and Healthy Eating over the Holiday Season! Be Safe and God Bless!
Keep reading as I continue my mission: Healthy Huggins
If you have a question or a topic you would like me to address please email me at CindyJadeRD@gmail.com
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