Quick GuideTravel Health: Vaccines & Preventing Diseases Abroad
Airports can be particularly dangerous for weight-conscious travelers, says Jyl Steinback, the author of 10 cookbooks for healthy eating.
"Finding healthy food inside an airport terminal can be quite a challenge," says Steinback. "Healthy choices are available, but often not as readily accessible as the pizzas, hot dogs, and other fast food items."
The best strategy is to travel with your own snacks, she says. But if you get caught in the airport without a stash of snacks on hand, create your own healthy meal. Buy a bagel, but skip the butter or cream cheese, and add a little jelly instead. Look for fresh fruit, low-fat or fat-free yogurt, salads (but watch the fatty dressings), and bottled water, skim milk, or small bottles of juice.
If you're on one of the increasingly rare flights that serves food, order a vegetarian meal, says NYU nutritionist Samantha Heller. You can also call ahead of time and advise the airline of any special dietary needs you have.
- Ask for substitutions. Choose salad, fruit, rice, or a baked potato instead of chips, fries, or coleslaw.
- Pay attention to what you choose on the salad bar. A salad soaked in oily or creamy dressing can be more fattening than a Big Mac and fries.
- Order half-portions, or share an entree with someone else at your table.
- Eat only what tastes great. Don't waste calories on foods you can live without.
- Order a large side dish and a small entree, or several healthy-choice appetizers instead of an entree.
- Skip anything called "smothered," "crispy," crusted," or "sauteed."
- Don't order dessert right after finishing your meal. If you wait a few minutes, you may find you're not as hungry for it as you thought.