BLOG NUTRITION, FOOD, WATER, LIFESTYLE
November 1, 2016
Surviving SeaTac: Eating Healthy in an Airport
Imagine this scenario: You are in the airport and have NO food with you. No random squished protein bar in the bottom of your purse, no tiny bag of emergency almonds. Your dietitian gave you a list of ideas of snacks you could bring along, but in your chaotic whirlwind of packing you lost the list and didn’t even think to go to the grocery store. You are stuck inside the concourse at SeaTac Airport. You are hungry and your flight doesn’t leave for 3 hours. Panic begins to set in as your stomach begins to growl.
Don't fear, I am here to help. During a recent trip, where my flight was fortuitously delayed, I was able to make my away around the airport and find a few healthy options for both meals and snacks to help out the health-conscious, hungry traveler.
Thank goodness for Starbucks. This was my skinny vanilla latte and a turkey, bacon, & egg white sandwich. This tends to be my go-to 360 calorie travel breakfast.
Qdoba: You can choose to do a tortilla-less breakfast burrito. Choose to get a low carb scramble with eggs, meat, with fajita veggies, any salsa of your choice, and a light sprinkling of cheese if you desired.
Around the airport I found your usual pieces of fruit, nuts (that came in giant bags so be mindful of portion control), and protein bars. I also found beef and turkey jerky which can be a handy snack to bring on the plane. Also remember to hydrate! Water is your best buddy when travelling.
I also found some fun healthy surprises at Waji’s. I was pretty excited!
And now for my favorite high protein snack find…
Rows of protein for a sea-foodie at Anthony’s. All in individual portions. Pair with a small piece of fruit if you would like to add a carbohydrate.
I got a side of cocktail sauce with my shrimp. It was divine, and so very cute. With the small portion size, I easily could have eaten two of these.
LUNCH & DINNER OPTIONS:
Qdoba: Taco Salads are always a great option. You can double the protein if you would like, omit the rice and beans to lower the carb, add fajita veggies and the salsas of your choice for a tasty meal. Sour cream adds 65 calories to the dish and cheese can add up to 160, so be mindful if you add extras to your salad.
Burrito bowls. Good rule of thumb: ditch the tortilla. You can save calories right from the get-go. Pick rice OR beans to reduce your carbohydrates and double up on your protein to make sure your meal will fill you up during your long travel day. Load up on your veggies and you are on your way with a protein packed meal on the go.
Wendy’s: Wendy’s gives full nutritional information on their website. This is extremely helpful! They also let you customize the order so that you may see the dish with or without certain condiments or toppings.
For example, a full sized Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad without the hummus, using lite balsamic vinaigrette for dressing has 540 calories and a whopping 40 grams of protein. This is a large portion, and would be a great choice for a meal. Take that, airplane cheese tray!
Or a Wendy’s small chili has 170 calories, 16 grams of carb, and 15 grams of protein. It is high in sodium as are most fast foods but this can make a quick, warm, on-the-go snack that is much more satiating that airplane pretzels.
And now for my favorite find of the day…
This colorful Shrimp and Mango Salad from Anthony’s!
It didn’t have a nutrition label so I had no idea about the calorie content. So I was cautious about the dressing. My safe bet here was to use the fork trick (dip my fork into the dressing then take a bite) or avoid using dressing at all. It didn’t need dressing, so I was set. Secondly, shrimp is beautifully low in calories and you can eat a lot of it to meet your protein needs at meal time. So if I needed 6 ounces to fill me up at a meal, this salad wouldn’t be enough. I would have to supplement it with a side of fish or chicken to meet my needs.
I found this Wolfgang Puck Caesar Salad. I could see that it has protein on it, and it looks like it has a reasonable amount. It has the dressing on the side, which is a big plus. This looks like a good choice to grab and go, right?
Let’s look at the nutrition facts.
See nutrition information below. 870 calories! WOW! Without looking at the label we would not think that this salad would be packing a whopping 870 calories. From the label we can see that there is 71 grams of fat, and 35 grams of carb. The majority of the calories are coming from the Caesar dressing. If we did decide to choose this for a meal, omit the dressing, and the croutons to make it a healthier choice. Use this salad as a cautionary tale: ALWAYS READ THE LABEL!
General tips for fast food type restaurants:
Burgers: Pile on the veggies and wrap your burger in lettuce! You can also do this for chicken sandwiches as well. Avoiding condiments like mayonnaise is a great way to avoid extra calories and unwanted fat.
Sandwiches: Order a ½ sandwich and double the meat portion. This will reduce the carb and increase the protein, helping to keep you fuller for longer. Substitute high fat condiments like mayonnaise and oil for lower calorie options like mustard.
Asian: Choose fresh not fried foods when able. Avoid breaded meats and load up on vegetable side dishes. Choose brown not white rice and limit portion size.
I hope this has helped ease some of your fears about eating healthfully while travelling. Now travel without fear and remember to read labels & bring a water bottle!