Healthy Airport Food On The Fly

On Sunday, I traveled from Washington, D.C. to San Diego, California. While I usually plan ahead and pack snacks so I don’t have to forage for healthy airport food, the 4:20 am text message from United telling me that my 12:22 flight was three hours delayed “due to awaiting aircraft” set me off kilter as I scrambled to rebook to a different itinerary so I could make my dinner meeting.

What I Ate On The Fly

I did pack a small bag with granola bars, almonds, and packets of Starbucks Via while I was talking to the United agent, but apparently I put it back in the pantry instead of in my bag! So, here’s a look at the relatively healthy food I found at the airport, and the other things I ate during my very long day. 

When you figure out at 5:15 that you need to leave the house for your business trip at 6:30 instead of 10:30, that doesn’t leave much time for breakfast. I sucked down two cups of coffee and had two of these breakfast cookies with a schmear of peanut butter to get me to the airport and through security.

I was at the airport when I realized that I had forgotten my snacks (and called my husband to confirm). I had grabbed a yogurt just in case TSA would be more lenient in the TSA Pre-Check line, but it triggered a “bag check” and was confiscated. 🙁

There was a Starbucks near my gate and a newsstand with the usual convenience food snacks. Since I had planned on eating one of these crunchy peanut butter granola bars from my stash of snacks, this is what I went with for my first relatively healthy airport food meal.

Starbucks + Granola Bar

While I was at Starbucks, I also picked up a packet of this Evolution Harvest nut and seed mix with pecans and pepitas. I nibbled on some of these on my first flight to Chicago, and ate the rest on my second flight to San Diego.

Evolution Harvest

It was weird flying into Chicago without actually being on my way to Chicago. (I usually avoid flying through O’Hare at all costs!). It was even weirder when Chicago looked like a sunken city in the low clouds!

Chicago In The Clouds

I had a two hour layover at O’Hare and was ready for some real food. Most places were still serving breakfast, and this bacon and egg sandwich sounded good. It qualifies as relatively healthy airport food because I got it on wheat bread instead of a giant “croissant” and skipped the cheese. 😉

Bacon + Egg Sandwich

Before boarding my next flight I stopped at a newsstand for more snacks, in case the in-flight lunch options were not appealing.

Cliff Bar + Godiva

I ate one square of this Godiva dark chocolate bar while waiting for our plane to take-off, but never got around to the Cliff bar because there was an Asian chicken salad on the menu that sounded good.

I was pretty disappointed at the small portion of chicken, but the salad mix was much more flavorful than it looks. I think there was some bok choy in there that gave it an interesting taste.

United Asian Chicken Salad

I skipped the nutritionally vacuous “won ton strips” and finished my Evolution Harvest pecans and pepitas.

As we landed in San Diego and were greeted with this view, I knew that having a few free hours in this city would be worth my hectic morning!

San Diego Landing

After I checked into my hotel and registered for my conference, I decided to walk around to counteract all those hours of sitting on an airplane. I had a dinner meeting at 7:00, but I was really hungry at 4:30 and knew I had to eat something.

I wasn’t in the mood for cookies, ice cream, or funnel cake, but also didn’t want nachos or fries. When I found a little Greek place, I thought a side order of falafel would make a good snack. Somehow I also ended up ordering a local IPA and sesame cookies.

Falafel Snack

The falafel was meh (it looked and tasted like it was made in a factory–maybe that’s why they tried to drown it in that sauce), but the beer was yummy and I had no trouble just enjoying being outside on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon!

San Diego Skyline

That brings us to my last meal of my very long day. We were at a lovely restaurant in Del Mar, dining on a rooftop patio, so anything would have been good, but this halibut was fantastic.

Pacifica Del Mar Halibut

I really should not have ordered dessert, but since everyone else did ….

Chocolate Bon Bon

This “Bon Bon” was a huge ball of vanilla ice cream coated with a thick chocolate shell. It was delicious, but my stomach really did not need all that!

Do you bring snacks with you when you travel?

Do you have a go-to convenience food snack?


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15 Responses to Healthy Airport Food On The Fly

  1. I have started bringing snacks with me, it’s the only thing that will keep me on track. Don’t know how you do it travelling so much! Lots of will power!
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  2. Tamara says:

    I always bring snacks with me when I travel. I’m terrified of being starving hungry and only have day-old coffee shop pastries for fuel 🙂
    If I’m stuck at Starbucks, I always look for one of their Bistro Boxes; hard-boiled egg, cheese, pita, nut butter, apple slices and grapes. I’ve learned the hard way that when I eat too many simple sugars I’m a grouchy-puss!
    Tamara recently posted…Peaceful coexistence at the gym: when older and younger work out togetherMy Profile

  3. Looks like you did ok in the airport. It can be really hard to find healthy stuff. I like the Starbucks breakfast sandwiches in a pinch. I always need some chocolate on a flight too!
    Deborah Brooks @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Mino Shoe tracker Review & GiveawayMy Profile

  4. What a beautiful view of Chicago! Eating healthy at an airport can be super hard!
    Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie recently posted…7 Minute WorkoutMy Profile

  5. I always mean to pack healthy snacks but am not as good about it as I should be. The next time I fly I’ll probably bring Quest bars, nuts, and maybe dates + nut butter. I also just learned that Luvo (delicious frozen meals) is now on-board Delta flights — so if I ever fly Delta I will DEFINITELY be trying those!
    Gillian @ That’s G recently posted…midnight mission 10k recap.My Profile

  6. I really enjoyed this post – I love reading what others bring with them. I usually stash a few Luna Bars (Lemon Zest at the moment), some mints or gum, and some water post security.
    Jennifer Yuen recently posted…B.A.A 10K Race RecapMy Profile

  7. Carla says:

    Carla recently posted…Partying with my Eggland’s Best Eggs.My Profile

  8. Just happened to order the IPA? 🙂 what restaurant in Del Mar? We are down there a lot, it’s so pretty.

    Good job navigating the airport food junk fest. It is possible.
    carrie@familyfitnessfood recently posted…POPSUGAR Must Have Box – ReviewMy Profile

  9. GiGi Eats says:

    I ALWAYS plan my trips! I KNOW I am going to get hungry, so I will ALWAYS bring food with me that’s GiGi-Approved because very little that’s offered at to-go restaurants is allowed down my esophagus! LOL!
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Have Some Balls on Your Birthday!My Profile

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