Aside from memorizing terminal layouts and locking down some free airport WiFi, finding good food is one of the most vital things when it comes to flying — especially if you’re cursed with a lengthy layover. Though most terminals have a profusion of bars, stands, and kiosks, finding healthy eats isn’t smooth sailing for everyone. In fact, if can be quite a challenge for folks with dietary restrictions, those who aim to travel on a tight budget, and parents with fussy kids in tow. Luckily, a little homework goes a long way. We’ve come up with some tips, suggestions, and a glimmer of hope for your time spent in terminals this summer.
Dietary Restrictions On-the-GO
If your diet is strictly vegan or gluten free, traveling through airports can be painful. Sometimes it seems like the options are solely catering to burger-eating meat fiends. Sure, you might find vegan or GF-friendly options on fast food menus, but if cross-contamination is a concern, it’s best to play it safe and hunt down an eatery that prides itself on catering to different lifestyles.
Leave it to Los Angeles International to have one of the best. LAX pampers its vegan and GF travelers with Real Food Daily, an organic and plant-based eatery that serves everything from lentil burgers to jackfruit street tacos.
Not hitting up LAX? Don’t fret — the celebrity-packed airport isn’t the only one offering more options. CIBO Express Gourmet Markets can be found in nine US airports and promises a selection that will fit any lifestyle — from vegan to kosher.
Stay on your healthy wagon
Traveling makes it easy to slip up — especially when you’re stuck in an airport with a gazillion fast food joints and forever-flowing beer taps. But there’s no reason you should have to forfeit your healthy habits if you don’t want to.
If you happen to be at Boston Logan International, you’re in luck. Terminals B and C are home to UFood Grill, where everything is steamed or grilled; nothing is fried.
If you’re facing the chaos that is Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta, One Flew South will top your plate with a delicious and nourishing meal.
Traveling through Portland International? Lucky you. At PDX you’ll find Elephants Delicatessen, which serves up refreshing nosh like turkey avocado sandwiches and granola yogurt parfaits.
Traveling With Hungry Kids
If you’re trekking through an airport with kids, you’re going to want a game plan. When kids are hungry, they get hangry, and the last thing you need in a busy airport are cranky tots. Luckily, kid-friendly fare is becoming more accessible at airport restaurants these days, so you don’t have to rely on the golden arches of doom or some greasy overpriced pizza in order to feed your youngsters.
Root Down at Denver International offers kids homemade mac and natural chicken fingers, so they can eat their faves without being robbed of nutrition, and you can mow down on some delicious grown-up food.
If you’re moseying around Dallas/Fort Worth International, you can treat your kidlets to the coolest cereal experience ever. Cereality is a breakfast bar and cafe where pajama-clad “Cerealogists” help you invent your very own cereal combo! WHUT.
And, if your family makes a stop at the Seattle-Tacoma International, you’ve *got* to bring your kids to Bigfoot Food and Spirits. The atmosphere is enjoyable and the kids can indulge in some small dogs and Wookie Wings.
Eating on the Cheap
Eating on the cheap at the airport sounds counterintuitive, but with some careful planning, it can be done. The best advice is to bring your own snacks. Pack up some granola bars, fruit, or a healthy salad. Just keep in mind that your food will have to take a small trip through the X-ray machine at the TSA checkpoint. Also, tote along an empty water bottle to fill up at a fountain once you’re past the security checkpoint. Nobody wants to pay $4 for bottled water…
If you don’t want to pack your own grub, quick-grab airport market food might *seem* like the way to go, but do your homework. Some pre-made wraps and salads sit in the cooler all day long and turn up pretty soggy in the end, so it might be worth your buck to spend a few extra and get a promising bagel from Einstein Bros Bagels, or hit up a trusty market like the previously mentioned Elephants Delicatessen, if possible.
Do you have tips and tricks when it comes to airport travels? Tweet us @BritandCo and tell us about your experience!
(Featured photo via Toa Heftiba/Unsplash)