When you arrive at the airport as early as recommended, you invariably have some extra time. Some people wind up eating something, or maybe buying some food for “on the go” since most will only get a small snack on the plane.
There are some foods at the airport that are perfectly OK to get, but there are others you may want to avoid if you can.
Foods To Avoid:
For Comfort On The Plane
- Salty Stuff
Certain foods, and especially fast foods (think hot dogs, chicken nuggets, tomato sauces, nachos, potato chips, sandwiches with processed meats, etc.) may taste good but they inherently have a lot of salt in them. Salt tends to “hold on” to liquids so when you eat salty foods, it makes you retain (keep) water. Water retention could cause more liquid to pool in your lower legs and cause painfully swollen ankles on the plane (although this might help).
Also, because the extra salt is collecting and “holding” the liquid in your body in places it normally wouldn’t, you wind up being thirsty. Drink too much at the airport and you’re going to have to pee a lot on the plane. Or unless you bring your own drinks, you’re going to want to drink more on the plane than what the flight attendants will be offering – and if it’s a long flight, then you’re gonna have to pee more often. And you have a window seat. And the 2 strangers next to you are sleeping. Better to just avoid the salt.
- Stinky Stuff
I don’t mind saying it – passengers who bring smelly food onto a plane are selfish. No one wants to smell your fried shrimp, curry, tuna sandwich, etc. Save it for when you’re by yourself.
Because It Will Be Disappointing
- Fancy Stuff
No offense to any chefs out there, but when you’re working the line at Nature’s Table or Qdoba, the main goals would be, I’d think, safety and speed over trying to get a James Beard award. Unless you’re in a sit-down place, especially one that does it well and has won awards like the airport exclusive restaurants in Orlando and Atlanta, I’d probably skip the fancy stuff and stick to foods that are difficult to ruin. That warmed up chicken parm over overcooked spaghetti you got at Sbarro may fill your belly, but not your soul. 😉
- Pre-Wrapped Salads
Unless you happen to catch them just putting the salads onto the shelves at the “To Go” or “Express” place, chances are it’s been sitting there a while. On top of that, you may have an hour until you board the plane, and another hour until you decide you feel like eating it. Wilted, room temperature lettuce and baby spinach are sad. Very, very sad.
- Pre-Wrapped Sandwiches
Substitute “wilted lettuce” for “soggy bread.” Ew.
For Your Own Safety
Sorry not sorry for the ick factor, but buffets are just a harbor for germs. No really, they’re a culinary petri dish. You’ve got the people who went to the bathroom (or coughed/sneezed into their hands, or the kids who picked their noses) and didn’t wash their hands, who are now touching the serving utensils just before you do. You’ve got food that’s been sitting out for who knows how long. Someone invariably used their bare (bathroom/cough/sneeze/booger) hands instead of the (bathroom/cough/sneeze/booger) tongs to get a roll (and they wanted THAT roll, not the one that’s on top and easy to get without touching another roll). And if you’ve got a food allergy, let’s not even go into the cross-contamination possibilities.
- Anything That Could Potentially Cause Problems For You
The airport is not the time to eat food that you know, because of your own personal history, could cause problems for you. There was a time in my life when eating certain brands of melted cheese slices caused me to break out into hives – eating a cheesesteak sandwich at PHL would not have been a good idea. If you know you have a sensitive stomach and can’t eat too much in the way of greasy foods because they give you GI distress, you might want to avoid fried chicken, cream sauces, etc. if you’re going to take off in a little bit. If certain foods give you heartburn or gas, it’s probably not a good idea to eat those just before you go on a plane, too.
** Feature photo (cropped): Wikimedia Commons
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary