Airports aren’t known for having enough healthy options, especially if your only option is Hudson News. Planning ahead and packing healthy snacks is a great way to stay on track, but sometimes there’s no time to plan and pack food on top of packing your suitcases.
We’ve put together some healthy choices at Hudson News — or any newsstand or road-side convenience store — to stay on track while traveling:
Why it made the cut: Grabbing a bag of chips won’t keep you full for long, but swapping those greasy chips for low-fat pretzels and adding protein-rich hummus creates a filling snack that’s plane-portable. Each cup has 10 grams of protein from chickpeas in the hummus to keep you full during a long flight.
RD tip: Look for a veggie cup to supplement the crackers or pretzels in your cup. It can be difficult to find vegetables in airport terminals, but if you can snag a cup of celery and carrot sticks, they make great dippers for hummus and fill you up without packing on extra calories.
Nutrition Information: 370 calories, 20 g fat, 40 g carbs, 840 mg sodium 5 g fiber, 10 g protein
Why it made the cut: Apples are packed with fiber and potassium and peanut butter is a great source of healthy fats and protein, resulting in a balanced snack that keeps you satisfied for hours.
RD tip: Produce is your portable best friend for eating healthy anytime, especially at an airport. Eating lots of salty snacks like chips and fries leaves you feeling more bloated and dehydrated than usual when you step off the plane, so seek out naturally hydrating, water-rich foods like fruit or fresh veggies and pair them with protein-rich dips like peanut butter or hummus instead.
Nutrition Information (apple + 2 tablespoons peanut butter): 283 calories, 16g fat, 30 g carbs, 6 mg sodium, 7 g fiber, 9 g protein
Why it made the cut: If your flight is already boarding and you’re in a rush, it’s easiest to reach for an energy bar. RX bars have 12 grams of protein each and are made with few ingredients (the base for all flavors is egg whites, dates and nuts). With dates providing natural sweetness to help satisfy cravings, the addition of protein-packed egg whites and nuts keeps you full for a flight.
RD tip: While RX Bars and similar energy bars can be a great source of protein, fiber and fat with minimal added sugar, not all energy bars are created equal. Read labels to make sure your energy bar isn’t just a candy bar in disguise. Grab one with at least 10 grams of filling protein and no added sugar.
Nutrition Information: 210 calories, 7g fat, 26g carbs, 115mg sodium, 6g fiber, 12g protein
Why it made the cut: Dark chocolate has less sugar and higher antioxidant levels than milk chocolate or candy bars, so it’s an indulgence worth enjoying.
RD tip: Look for bars with at least 70% cacao for the most antioxidant benefits. Steer clear of bars with lots of flavors added (like caramel, cookie pieces, etc.), since they’ll be just as much of a sugar bomb as the candy bars at the checkout counter. Single-serving squares are the best option, since portion control is built in, but if all you can find is a bar, limit yourself to two squares per serving.
Nutrition Information (per one square): 50 calories, 2.5g fat, 6g carbs, 0mg sodium 1g fiber, 1g protein
Why it made the cut: Trail mix with just a few chocolate pieces thrown in will satisfy your sweet tooth while providing fiber, protein and fat you wouldn’t find in a candy bar. The combination of fruit and nuts keeps you full and is more nutrient-dense than a bag of chips or popcorn.
RD tip: The key with trail mix is to watch portion sizes. A 1/4-cup handful can stack up to more than 150 calories, so it’s easy to munch mindlessly and reach hundreds of calories without noticing. Stick to single-serving packets if you can find them, or split a small bag in half and save the rest for the trip back home.
Nutrition Information (per 1.5 oz serving): 194 calories, 12g fat, 19g carbs, 96mg sodium 5g fiber, 6g protein
Why it made the cut: Greek yogurt is available at most airport kiosks and provides at least 10 grams of protein to keep you full without weighing you down.
RD tip: Look for plain yogurt when available to avoid added sugars, then top with fruit and nuts to add fiber, healthy fat and flavor for a filling snack.
Nutrition Information: 120 calories, 0g fat, 18g carbs, 50mg sodium <1g fiber, 12g protein
Why it made the cut: If you need meat to feel full and satisfied, jerky is the way to go. It’s full of protein with a meaty, hearty flavor, making a great filling snack for when you don’t have time to sit down to a full meal.
RD tip: Most jerky has lots of salt and sugar added in the drying process. Read and compare labels to find brands with the lowest amounts of sodium and sugar — less than 200 grams of sodium and 7 grams of sugar per serving is ideal.
Nutrition Information: 100 calories, 1.5g fat, 11g carbs, 340mg sodium 0g fiber, 9g protein