Why Your Airport Salad May Not Be As Healthy As You Think

New York-based nutritionist, bodywork practitioner, and holistic healing expert Danielle Pashko has over 15 years of experience in the wellness industry. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Holistic Nutrition and has served as a nutritional consultant to clients in some of the world’s leading spas and fitness clubs.

When was the last time you had a healthy meal at the airport? Any frequent traveler can tell you that healthy airport food is notoriously difficult to find.

Finding a salad at the airport is seemingly one of the healthiest options, and salads can be a great way to stay healthy on a travel day. But not all airport salads are created equal.

Dos and don’ts of airport salads

Don’t eat from the airport salad bar

I certainly would never eat anything from a salad bar (which has people touching the food all day). Our hands can carry germs that can quickly spread to food. This can make you and other people ill.

Food can be sitting for hours at salad bars breeding bacteria like listeria. Listeria is a type of food poisoning bacteria that can live and grow in food. Chilled food, in particular, can carry it, like pâté, cooked sliced meats, soft cheeses, and smoked fish.

airport salad
PHOTO: @grainpain1 via Instagram

Beware of prepackaged food 

If a salad is prepackaged, check thoroughly to make sure nothing looks wilted. Then I’d check for an expiry date. Ask at the register if it was freshly packaged and how it was prepared and stored.

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Salad from Root Down Airport Restaurant at Denver Airport
Salad from Root Down Airport Restaurant at Denver Airport PHOTO: Mission Yogurt, Inc.

Do order salad from an airport restaurant

Do order a salad in an airport restaurant. Restaurants that prepare food to order will make your salad fresh. There are more stringent food requirements for sit-down restaurants. Many restaurants also offer a comprehensive list of ingredients and calories so you can assess the nutritional profile of the salad.

Do look for known brands

To be safe, look for big chains like Starbucks, or a place that’s well known. Such places can afford to have stringent health standards in place, as they don’t want to risk their reputation.

Do buy a salad before heading to the airport

Leave a little extra time on your travel day to grab a salad from your favorite health food spot and take it with you to the airport. There are many more healthy options for salads before you arrive at the airport, so it’s worth taking the extra time.

Do bring your salad

If you are eating an airport salad or one you bought en route to the airport, keep in mind that the ingredients are not always organic. They can also contain glyphosate (a toxic ingredient found in Monsanto’s Roundup, which is sprayed on crops and vegetables).

Making your filling and healthy salad with the ingredients you like will power you through any travel day. Bringing your salad gives you the most control over the nutrition of your meal.

Got a favorite on-the-go salad recipe for travel days? Let us know in the comments below! Don’t forget to tag your airport salads #ITravelWell to share the healthy travel love!


Author of Breaking Your Fat Girl Habits & Smile At Your Challenges. Danielle Pashko has been working in the fitness, beauty and wellness industries for the past 15 years. She is a certified yoga instructor, licensed massage therapist, holistic nutritionist, fashion model, thyroid cancer survivor

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