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Healthy Airport Food from HKG to LAX, via LHR

Here’s a list of my absolute favorite healthy snack shacks, restaurants and juice bars from HKG to LAX, via LHR.

I’ve spent a fair bit of time complaining to any willing (or lets be honest, unwilling) soul within earshot as to the utter unfairness of non-airport purchased liquids still being verboten on flights.
I mean, doesn’t the transit authority understand the importance of being properly hydrated with the appropriate nutrients?
Don’t they care that most of us don’t have the luxury of spending a night recovering from our latest transatlantic jaunt?
We, fabulous-modern-working-women require adequate nourishment to rule the universe!

Somehow I doubt my lobbying will come to any kind of fruition, so, until the day that I am once again allowed to haul my green smoothie onto that long haul flight, and given that I know many out there also fall under the travel-snack-impulse-purchase-spell, here’s a list of my absolute favorite healthy snack shacks, restaurants and juice bars from HKG to LAX, via LHR.

I don’t know about you – but in the pre-liquid ban days I very much enjoyed using my long-haul flights as a kind of detox in the sky.

It might seem like an impossible task, but the proliferation of healthy restaurants over the last few years finally appears to be spilling over into the mainstream. The fallout of which is that we’re starting to be able to score something resembling real health food in airports. In a world where some airlines (Emirates for example) are now offering not just vegan meals, but also the holy grail of health food snobbishness, raw vegan fare, to weary passengers wary of facing yet another sodium and preservative laden mess of congealed meat-like substance flanked by scrawny, brown green beans.

I don’t know about you – but in the pre-liquid ban days I very much enjoyed using my long-haul flights as a kind of detox in the sky. Just me, a laptop and a canteen of green machine, and a very annoyed aisle seat resident not enjoying my frequent dashes to the loo. I mean hey, why get all snarky with me just because you forgot to choose your seat at early check in? I digress…on to the list…

Even JFK has jumped on the healthy foodie bandwagon, offering a smattering of healthy snacks to keep you going.

  • New York
    JFK – Terminal 3

Finding healthy food this far beyond downtown is a crapshoot. Add in that travelers tend to be a stressed, ready to munch on anything that dulls the pain of air travel, kind of crowd, and you’ve got a recipe for culinary disaster on your hands. Never fear, even JFK has jumped on the healthy foodie bandwagon, offering a smattering of healthy snacks to keep you going.

Top pick: The Organic Gourmet
Why: Healthy snacks you’d find at Whole Foods, like organic mango, cute little organic sugar free granola snack packs, raw almonds, raw organic cacao bars.

  • London

I’ve been incredibly impressed with the number of cute juice bars popping up all over London, mostly in the West End.
Sadly it seems they haven’t quite worked their way this far out, but we have a couple of options that don’t make me cringe.

Heathrow (LHR) – Terminal 5

Top pick: Gordon Ramsay Plane Food
Why: Seasonal smoothies, muesli, fresh fruit salad, steamed sea bass with courgette pesto, braised lamb.

Gatwick (LGW) – Terminal 4

Top pick: Comptoir Libanais
Why: Fresh falafel, hummus, fresh mint tea, fresh apple and carrot juice. Need I say more?

  • Rome

Malpensa (MPX) – Terminal 3
Transiting through here was a bit of a chore until I discovered this wonderful place. Nestled in between some fabulous fashion-wear, it’s a great spot to indulge in some serious people watching while you contemplate indulging in another juice or just treating yourself to a mani-pedi or massage right next door.

Top pick: Mercedes-Benz Bar
Why: Mixed mesclun greens salad, the most awesome fennel, apple, cucumber and ginger juice made to order.

  • Hong Kong

There’s so much to choose from here – how could you go wrong with rice noodles and fresh vegetables (be sure to ask them to hold the MSG!)? But there’s always a favorite…any kind of saffron infused dish is top of my list, mostly for the anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory benefits and of course beautiful crimson color.
Top pick: Cafe Deco – level 7 North Departures Concourse
Why: Saffron rice, sweet almond butternut and basil soup, green Thai curry.

My days of traveling SFO-CDG on nothing but multiple shrimp cocktails are now thankfully over; bring on the era of airport juices and Buddha bowls!

  • San Francisco

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

*Sigh*
California. It doesn’t get any better than this. A Mecca for “plantivores” (is that a thing?), packaged into a city so beautiful it’s almost impossible to tear yourself away.
Definitely L.A.’s more chilled out weirdo cousin, S.F. holds a special place in my heart. My days of traveling SFO-CDG on nothing but multiple shrimp cocktails are now thankfully over; bring on the era of airport juices and Buddha bowls!

Top pick: The Plant Cafe – Terminal 2 Boarding Area D
Why: Green Basic juice (kale, parsley, lemon, ginger), Sweet Greens juice (apple, celery, ginger, lemon), shot of wheatgrass, Hummus Plate, Salad Meal (red quinoa, cauliflower, chickpeas, green tahini).

  • Los Angeles

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

And finally, we’ve arrived at my very top airport foodie destination. Billing itself as the world’s first plant based airport eatery, this place literally bowled me over. As I stood in front of their menu, transfixed by the goodies at my disposal, suddenly the prospect of being stuck in a pressurized, near deafening tin can, didn’t seem so bad after all. Best of all? Doubling up on my purchases to enjoy on the plane.

Top pick: Real Food Daily – Terminal 4

Why: The Real Food Burger (lentil mushroom patty, caramelized onions, arugula), don’t forget the side of Yucca Fries, the Real Food Meal (brown rice, beans, daily greens, land and sea veggies, choice of dressing), or your choice of beans and vegetables to order.  Don’t forget to pick up a super green juice to wash it all down with.

Yasmina Ykelenstam

The Low Histamine Chef Yasmina Ykelenstam blogs her adventures in healing from a chronic inflammatory condition. She covers allergy free living, anti-inflammatory and antihistamine recipes, in addition to all the latest developments in nutrition.

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