4 Actually Doable Strategies for Eating Healthy at the Airport, According to an R.D.

Because being hangry at the airport feels worse than a canceled flight.
Your suitcase is packed with all your pre-planned outfits, carry-on stocked with *all* the hand lotion, and iPhone loaded with all the podcasts. The only thing you likely forgot? The food.

Sure, staying on top of your nutrition game when you've got access to your farmer's market, fave recipes, and fully stocked kitchen is one thing. But when you’re on-the-go, it's all too easy to plan on grabbing a bite at the airport and finding yourself in a maze of cinnamon buns and cheese-loaded everything.

“A lot of people get in ‘vacation mode’ the minute they enter the airport, and then you’re not as mindful about what you’re eating,” says Molly Kimball, RD. (Bad news for your energy and mood levels.)

"When you eat better, you’ll find yourself with more energy, which is always important when you’re traveling."

The solution? The new Weight Watchers Freestyle program, AKA your nutrition secret weapon. The plan is the latest program from Weight Watchers—but if you're imagining restrictive rules and calorie-counting, think again. The program actually functions as an easy guide to track your meals using points, and includes 200 zero Points®® foods like fruits, veggies, eggs, and protein so you have a crazy amount of freedom for what makes it onto your daily menu (and are able to find eats that make the cut—no matter where you are).

And that goes just as far toward making your vacay awesome as documenting the whole thing on Instagram. “When you eat better, you’ll find yourself with more energy, which is always important when you’re traveling,” Kimball says.

Armed with WW Freestyle's next-level tips, we asked Kimball to share four clever strategies to make your time in the terminal an actually enjoyable experience (like, for real).

Keep reading for four easy ways you can win the healthy eating game at the airport.

Photo: Stocksy/Jennifer Brister

Your leftovers can be your travel buddy

“A lot of people get nervous about going through the airport security with food, but it’s actually completely fine,” Kimball says. Plus, your fridge is likely stocked with snacks that contain mid-trip expiration dates. “Shop your fridge and bring those snacks with you so they won’t go to waste,” Kimball advises. She's carried on everything from sushi to grilled chicken stored in travel-friendly plastic sandwich bags.

And if your fridge is bare, go out to dinner the night before your flight for a hearty salad, chicken satay, or any dish that focuses on energizing protein and greens so you’ll have some leftovers as a pre-flight lunch.


Photo: Stocksy/Danil Nevsky

Pack a post-security protein boost

Kimball likes to upgrade her morning coffee with a scoop or two of protein powder. “Protein is great because it helps increase our alertness and keeps us focused,” she says. And since liquids are a no-no as you pass through TSA, she packs a few scoops of the powder in her bag and then adds it to her post-security cup of java. “Adding extra protein to your diet on an exhausting travel day can provide a steady stream of energy when you need it most.”

Another tip: Water bottle add-ins are smart travel tools. “Look for the packets that provide electrolytes, so you’re getting a hydration boost, which is also important when traveling.”


Photo: Stocksy/Ali Harper

Order breakfast 24/7

If you find yourself at an airport restaurant where most of the menu items feature the words “beer battered,” take a deep breath and ask if they’re still serving breakfast. Many airport eateries offer breakfast items all day, so Kimball says you could order an omelette packed with veggies and mushrooms—and all ingredients (including the eggs!) are on WW Freestyle's zero Points® list. Can’t find a kitchen that’s open? Kimball recommends grabbing a classic egg breakfast sandwich from a coffee shop in the terminal.


Photo: Thinkstock/Hemera Technologies

Find the hidden snack gems at airport shops

“Finding a decent snack at the airport is hard because the offerings are mostly sugary and carb-heavy, but it is getting slightly better,” Kimball says.  One thing she's spotted frequently? Hard-boiled eggs, which are a smart snack to grab for a dose of protein.

“I’m also seeing freeze-dried apples which are a great snack,” she adds. "It’s crispy like a chip, but there’s no sugar added.” They're great to bring on the plane, too, so you can skip the stale airline pretzels for something a ton tastier any way. Now if only you could do something about the in-flight movie options...

In partnership with Weight Watchers

Top photo: Stocksy/Jelena Jojic Tomic


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