Food & drink

Nutrition with Jane McClenaghan: What to eat at the airport

Keep an eye on your caffeine intake at the airport.
Jane McClenaghan

WITH disrupted travel, cancelled flights and another round of Covid, planning a summer holiday is not without its stresses. In the excitement of packing your swimsuit and beach towel, sparing a thought for what you might eat while travelling could mean the difference between arriving energised and refreshed, or exhausted and frazzled.

A lot of airport food is processed, convenience junk food. Full of sugar, refined carbohydrate, salt and the wrong sort of fat, but there are a few smart eating choices that you can make to help sustain your energy.

:: Depending on what airport your are flying out of, you choices may be limited, so it is a good idea to plan ahead and take some portable snacks with you. Travel snacks like packs of nuts, low sugar protein bars and an apple (easier to transport and less likely to get squishy than soft fruit like bananas) can tide you over. They are lightweight, portable and will stay fresh on the flight.

:: If you are eating a meal at the airport, have a look at the different options available and choose the best you can. For example, a breakfast or snack might mean grabbing a natural yoghurt with berry compote from Boots, with a little bag of nuts from WH Smith to give you some protein that will keep you going longer than a croissant and coffee, or if you have the time and the appetite, then an omelette from the hot food counter is a good idea first thing. At lunch or dinner time, there is likely to be the option of salad box with houmous, falafel, chicken, tuna or egg for your protein source. This more nourishing than a sandwich, wrap or fast food.

:: Although it can be tempting to start your holiday with a 'treat', often the foods on offer are high in sugar, salt and refined carbohydrate, all of which can leave you feeling heavy, tired and bloated. It is better to find an airport restaurant with a sit down meal rather than choosing junk food, if you can.

:: Keep well hydrated. Save on plastic and take your own water bottle with you to fill up at the airport.

:: Keep an eye on your caffeine intake. Caffeine has mild diuretic effect, so you might end up running to the loo at lot. Stick to water and one cup of coffee or tea, rather than overdoing it.

:: Keep alcohol to a minimum if you want to arrive at your destination feeling refreshed.

If your fight is delayed and you find yourself hanging around an airport longer than you would like, sitting down to a meal at an airport restaurant can be a way to pass the time.

When selecting your meal, have a look out for decent protein sources like meat, fish, pulses or eggs to help keep your energy upbeat, some salad or vegetables for a decent hit of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support your immune system on the flight and a healthy fat (think olive oil, avocado, oily fish, nuts or seeds) to help you feel satiated and feed your brain.

No matter how you travel on holiday, you can apply these same principles to help you land at your destination feeling refreshed, revived and ready for a good break, but also keep in mind that you are on holiday and it is OK to relax your diet a little.

And whether you are jetting off or having a staycation, enjoy your holiday.

Food & drink