7 Secrets to Eating Healthy on the Road

Avoid the nutritional landmines of airports and roadside stops with a little planning and even more patience.

By Emily Main


Be sure to seek out an healthy dinner when travelingA Decent Lunch or Dinner

When you’ll need one: If you’ve never, ever been delayed at an airport, gotten trapped in a huge traffic jam, or found yourself unexpectedly sidelined while traveling, you don’t exist, because travel is unpredictable. No matter how hard you try, at some point you’ll find yourself stuck in a health-food desert with a grumbling stomach.

Eat this: Fortunately, America’s airports and chain fast-food joints are waking up to the fact that people don’t want junk. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which publishes a yearly ranking of the healthfulness of America’s airport food offerings, is noticing a good trend: Ten of the 15 airports they surveyed in their 2011 report saw an increase in healthy food options over the prior year. And 83 percent of airport restaurants now offer at least one low-fat, high-fiber, cholesterol-free entrée.

Here are some safer bets on those occasions when a long layover or other travel disaster catches you off guard:

Au Bon Pain: This chain has outposts in nearly all major airports, and its wide selection of healthier soups and sandwiches makes it a good place to hang out for lunch. The Black Angus Roast Beef & Cheddar Sandwich has 480 calories, 17 g fat (8 g saturated), and 32 g protein.

Chili’s: As sit-down restaurants move into airports, they bring with them their huge selection of 800-calorie-plus entrees. The Chili’s Classic Sirloin Dinner, with a side of corn on the cob and steamed broccoli, checks in at just 500 calories and 22 g fat. Another good bet? Their Caribbean Chicken Salad, with 610 calories and 25 g fat.

Moe’s Southwest Grill: Vegetarian options are a good way to cut back on fat (and avoid factory-farmed meat), and Mexican or Southwestern restaurants are a good place to start for those. Moe’s Art Vandalay veggie burrito with black beans, rice, salsa, and grilled veggies clocks in at 599 calories and just 17 g fat.

Keep Reading: Road Trip Safety Tips