How to Survive Airport Food

Remember the days, Gentle Readers, when airline travel was something one dressed up for, and the food on planes was all first rate? Well, neither do I, and I’m sure Orville and Wilbur would have a few choice words about the state of nutrition in airports and on planes. For cross-country flights, it is necessary to eat at some point in the process.

And if you live in the South, and ever fly Delta, it is further necessary to run from one end of the Atlanta airport to the other, clutching your belongings. Don’t ask me why this is part of the process, simply accept that it is.

So here are the Top 5 Ways to Survive Airport Food:

1. Pack a Snack. Can’t over-emphasize this one. I tossed walnuts, raisins, and chocolate chips together before I left for the airport. Try dry cereal, granola bars, dried fruit, nuts, crackers. My trail mix was dinner the night I landed, and it will be a midnight snack tonight.

Trail Mix for Travel

Trail Mix for Travel

2. Buy Something Local To Go. Though I’ve never successfully navigated this one, I’ve never forgotten a veteran traveler’s story of buying a Muffuletta in New Orleans and packing it on the plane. This takes guts, as it is a rather odiferous treat, but she ate it unapologetically and with gusto. I salute her.

Muffuletta to Go!

Muffuletta to Go!

3. Make Like a Squirrel. If they offer you free food of any stripe on the plane, accept it and store it if you’re not hungry right then. You never know when a delay of some sort will keep you away from your next meal.

4. Choose the Path of Least Interference. If timing is such that you need to make an airport food selection, find one that has the least amount of interference. I have no idea why food both costs more and tastes worse in the airport, but that seems to be the mandate. Go for a simple sandwich, bagel, or in the case of airports with chains, something recognizable.

Simple Sandwich, Chips for Emergencies

Simple Sandwich, Chips for Emergencies

5. Coffee Is Edible, Too. Okay, perhaps this is just me and my latte problem, but with the prevalence of coffee stands in airports, the latte (or other milk-based coffee drink) is a good small meal alternative. You’re getting some energy and some calories, and it’s quick and portable. (*Note that the latte image below is NOT from an airport, but my fave coffeehouse. Can’t wait to get back there.)

For the Love of Lattes

For the Love of Lattes

How do you sustain yourself for the marathon that is air travel these days? Post a comment here or Tweet away.

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Up next, Kitchen Tool Talk, Three More of My Favorite Things.

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3 Comments

Filed under Kitchen Philosophy, On the Table

3 responses to “How to Survive Airport Food

  1. Kelsey

    I become so dehydrated when traveling. I always have bottled water on hand (bought after security), stowed in my carry on. It is a crime what they charge, but it beats the heck out of the head pounding and cotton mounth I experience later on. I also look for the fruit cup not completely filled with honeydew melon.

    • The Practical Cook

      Great point about staying hydrated, and also a good tip about the fruit/fruit cup. Another fine source of hydration, and relatively healthy and portable choice!!

  2. The Practical Cook

    Love this piece about airline food: http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/travel/pack-your-own-food-for-your-next-flight.html

    I got one of the coveted fruit and cheese plates, and it was better than nothing, but not by a whole lot!

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