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Healthier Airport Food

Your best food choices when you're stuck at the airport.
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Healthy Traveler Rule No. 1: Bring Your Own Snacks continued...

Lisa Young, PhD, RD, nutrition professor at New York University and author of The Portion Teller Plan, adds cut-up veggies and rice cakes with peanut butter to the list of healthy snacks to pack.

Keep in mind that most airports no longer let you bring anything liquid or gel-like through security, including water bottles and yogurt. But you can purchase these items (usually for an inflated price) on the other side of the security checkpoint on your way to the gate.

Healthy Traveler Rule No. 2: Know the Healthier Airport Options

Whether you're at a magazine and snack stand, a deli, or a fast-food restaurant, there are healthier food choices to be made inside the airport. For starters, trade in that bottle of soda for a bottle of water, and buy a bag of pretzels or mixed nuts instead of chips, Young advises in an email interview.

If you need a meal, don’t settle for the first fast-food restaurant you see. Walk around the food area to size up all your options before making your choice. Gerbstadt suggests ordering a side of sushi -- but without the high-sodium soy sauce.

Here are some better choices in typical airport eateries:

Pizza. In the pizza line, grab a slice with veggie toppings, and pair it with fresh fruit or raw veggies, not chips or a cookie. The pizza is rich enough. You’ll want to balance it with something high-fiber and low in fat.

Sandwich/Salad. When selecting a premade sandwich, look for whole-wheat or whole-grain bread, choose lean meat or vegetarian fillings, and dress it with no-calorie condiments like mustard. For salads, if light dressing isn’t available, use just 1 tablespoon of the regular type. Look for lots of color in your lettuce and veggies when selecting your salad. If there is meat added, make it a lean choice, like roasted skinless chicken breast. Also, make sure the sandwich or salad you buy is well chilled.

Mexican Food. Stay away from the fried choices. Go for entrees like bean or grilled chicken burritos and soft tacos (chicken or fish). Beans are generally a good, filling option, especially if they are whole beans rather than refried. Pass up the sour cream and processed cheese sauce in favor of fresh salsa.

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