Straight From a Flight Attendant: 14 Healthy Hacks For Eating at the Airport

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Eating right while traveling is as much of a struggle as going through security checkpoints. As much as we want to believe that salad or sandwich we hastily grabbed near our gate is sodium-free and fat-free, that's not often the case. No one knows this better than flight attendants, who basically live at the airport. So we thought, why not ask how they stay healthy on the job? We picked the brains of three frequent fliers and compiled a list of tried-and-true healthy hacks they swear by. Read on for some life-changing tips.

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1. Pack granola bars, dried fruits, and nuts: These snack essentials will curb your hunger if you're on a flight that doesn't serve food. You likely have one or all these items at home, so toss them in a Ziploc bag, stuff them in your duffel, and you're good to go.

2. Head straight to a smoothie or frozen yogurt spot: Bypass popular chains like McDonald's or Dunkin' Donuts when you want on-the-go breakfasts and fill up on a filling smoothie instead. If you do succumb to your Dunkin' habit, choose the egg white veggie flatbread over a sugary muffin.

3. Make your own inflight "protein plate": You've likely noticed when you order the protein plate on flights you typically receive an assortment of cheese, grapes, and boiled egg. Instead of overpaying for a snack pack, prep your own version and include your favorite cheese slices.

4. Make your own sandwich or bagel: It's easier to choose the less-fatty options when you're in charge of the ingredients. Even though you are still consuming carbs, you can balance that out with fillings like lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, eggs, or turkey; check out these ideas of how to make a healthy sandwich.

5. Bring an empty thermos and tea bags: Fight the urge to grab a coffee or soda to stay caffeinated before and during your flight. Instead, opt for green tea or one of your favorite varieties. All you need is hot water, which you can get anywhere in the airport and on the flight.

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6. Bring dry cereal: And ask for milk on the plane. Cereal can be healthy if you're choosing ones loaded with fiber and protein like some of these brands.

7. Pick up breakfast preflight: If you have time in the morning, grab something to eat in your neighborhood before you head to the airport.

8. Bring chia seeds: Aside from the noted health benefits of chia seeds, this trusty omega-3-loaded nutrient is also a versatile travel food. Add the seeds to your yogurt or make your own chia pudding the night before for an easy, debloating breakfast to go.

9. Pack your own fruit: Load up on nonperishable fruits like apples, oranges, and grapes. For easily crushed fruits like blueberries, honeydew, and strawberries, pack them in a sturdy container.

10. Bring on the veggies: Some airports don't offer nearly enough of our favorite veggies at affordable prices, so the best solution is to pack your own. Munch on carrots or celery sticks with dips like peanut butter or almond butter (as long as they are less than 3.4 oz.) if you prefer a snack to a real breakfast.

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11. Bring your own oatmeal: You can find oatmeal at any airport, but it seems silly to pay for it when you can easily bring it from home, like these single-serving bowls. Ask for hot water on the plane and top it off with fresh fruit or honey for a hassle-free meal.

12. Bring an empty water bottle and a lemon: A water bottle should be one of the first items in your carry-on bag. When you don't have time to drink hot water with lemon before your morning flight, you can easily prep it once you get to the airport.

13. What to get at Starbucks: If you can't give up this morning ritual, then opt for healthier options like a spinach and feta breakfast wrap or a turkey bacon sandwich.

14. Look for a Mexican or Mexican-influenced restaurant: There are more high-protein options available at these spots, and a breakfast burrito bowl, without cheese, hits that savory spot.