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Healthier Airport Food

Your best food choices when you're stuck at the airport.

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

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.

Coffee Shop/Bakery. A certain coffee chain seems to be at every corner of most American cities, and the airport is no exception. Starbucks offers a couple of lower-fat bakery options, both with 3 grams of fat and from 3 to 5 grams of fiber: the low-fat Cranberry Apple Muffin (290 calories) and the low-fat Oat Fruit Scone (320 calories).

If it’s coffee cake you desire, Starbucks has four lower-fat choices:

  • Reduced-Fat Banana Dulce Coffee Cake: 360 calories, 7 grams fat.
  • Reduced-Fat Blueberry Coffee Cake: 310 calories, 10 grams fat.
  • Reduced-Fat Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake: 300 calories, 8 grams fat.
  • Reduced-Fat Orange Crème Coffee Cake: 320 calories, 8 grams fat.

For a warm breakfast, your best bet is the Whole Grain Western Omelet Wrap, with 300 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 3 grams fiber.

Starbucks has plenty of drinks that are around 150 calories and contain almost no fat. The rules to order by: buy it "tall" (size), buy it "light" and "nonfat," and definitely buy it with "no whip." If you can, order your coffee drinks "decaf" to help keep you hydrated during your travels.

The Tangerine Frappuccino Juice Blend has fewer than 150 calories if you order the tall size.  You can also now order Starbucks' Blended Crème drinks in "light" -- the tall LIGHT Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino Blended Crème totals 150 calories and 0 grams of fat, while the tall LIGHT Orange Crème Frappuccino Blended Crème has just 110 calories and 0 grams fat.

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