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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Healthiest Airports:Eat well on the go!

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 /Total  
1. Newark Liberty International Airport                                92%        56/61
2. Las Vegas McCarran International Airport                        91%        49/54
3. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport                  90%        52/58
4. Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport             87%        53/61
5. (tie) Chicago O’Hare International Airport                       84%        81/97
5. (tie) Miami International Airport                                         84%        63/75
6. (tie) Orlando International Airport                                     82%        36/44
6. (tie) Washington Dulles International Airport               82%        32/39
6. (tie) Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport              82%        49/60
7. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport                           81%        76/94
8. (tie) Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport           78%        51/65
8. (tie) Charlotte Douglas International Airport                 78%        35/45
9. (tie) San Francisco International Airport                          77%        53/69
9. (tie) Denver International Airport                                      77%        47/61
10. (tie) Los Angeles International Airport                          76%        38/50
10. (tie) Baltimore/ Washington International Airport  76%        29/38
11. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport             69%        24/35
12. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport      58%        45/78
To view that entire report please visit Airport Food Review

Make better choices by choosing items from the following list.

·         Starbucks
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
·         McDonalds
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
·         Wendy’s
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 fiber
Majority 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
Happy Thanksgiving

If you have a question or a topic you would like me to address please email me at

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