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April 8, 2013 / amberwoodterracechiro

What to Eat When You’re Stranded in the Airport?!


I have been back from vacation for a week now, and I still haven’t told you guys what happened on my way there!  First of all, when a car catches on fire on the Dan Ryan, leave yourself an extra hour and a half to get to the airport!  That starts to paint the picture.  I headed off to the airport with plenty of time and ….no food.  It was a super short flight, and it was direct.  Why would I need food for a few hours of travel?  Well, when you go to check in and you have a check bag, they won’t let you log in if you are within 45 minutes of your flight.  FYI.  After waiting in line to check in, we missed the 45 minute mark by 7 minutes.  Seriously!?  That meant we would not be getting on our flight and would have to figure out plan B.  It was spring break week and all the flights were booked, so we were lucky enough to have an awesome United employee help us get on a night flight to Washington DC and then connect in the morning to our final destination.  As soon as I heard this I was super happy and then I thought “I don’t have any food!”  There I was, stranded in the airport with nothing to eat but whatever I could find inside my terminal.  First stop, a restaurant.  I was thinking that surely they would have a salad or meat with veggies.  No such luck.  I couldn’t believe it.  It was sandwiches and pizza.  I ran down to Starbucks because I saw bananas there earlier.  That started my scavenger hunt for food.  An instant bulb went off in my head that this is what people go through when they are unprepared!  I’ll let you know what I chose.  I want to preface this list with the statement that many of these things are not strict paleo.  We are not going for strict in these situations.  We are going for the best we can do and still feel satisfied.

1. I ate Starbucks oatmeal twice.  Oats are a non-glutenous grain although many are contaminated.

2. I ate 3 Kind bars that they sell at Starbucks.  Kind bars have some rice products in them, but once again, they are non-glutenous. I also bought some “two moms in the raw” bars from starbucks because I knew that there wouldn’t be anything open in the middle of the night.  Although I did not consume them, they are non-glutenous grains that are all soaked and sprouted for easier digestibility!

3. I ate a couple bananas that I bought at Starbucks.  (I also eyed the veggies, but they were 6 bucks for a tiny container!  If I was starving, I would’ve done it anyway…)

4. I had a coffee with a splash of heavy cream for some fat.

5. I had some Ms. May’s nut/fruit clusters that they sell at the magazine stands.

6. I had a glass of wine at the bar while watching the basketball games.

Like I said, most of this was not considered paleo.  However, if oatmeal and rice are some of your only options, they aren’t the worst. I will note that they also sold coconut water if I wanted something to drink besides coffee or water.  They also had stands with some greek yogurt options that would have been my next option that I chose.  Some of the people like me were choosing salad, but that’s a hard sell for me because the salads at the airport either have terrible things on them or they are just iceberg lettuce and I need more than that!

So, you can imagine sleeping in the airport and waking up the next day thinking “ok, I only have a few more hours and I’ll be at my friend’s house.  I can eat then.”  Upon arrival, I searched high and low through their pantry and fridge.  With my eyes huge, I couldn’t believe what they were eating….and how they had NO produce!  (I got the ok to call them out btw;) )  What was I gonna eat!?!?!  They did have hummus, organic corn chips, and an avocado that I was sure I could make into something.  So I cut up the avocado, mixed in some roasted red pepper hummus, and sprinkled in some paprika and cumin that I found in the pantry.  I ate some organic corn chips with this dip which means they were non-GMO and they are were non glutenous.  I did my best until we could head to the grocery store.

So, the moral of the story is that even people that have eaten this way for years are caught in situations where they are faced with a decision.  Mark Sisson would tell you that airport time is a great time to fast.  I agree.  You are not going to starve in one day.  However, I would rather not add any cranky behavior for those hours that I am unexpectedly caught in an 80 degree airport.  My first options when there are none often include non-glutenous grains because they are easier to find.  That means rice, corn, and oats.  Try to be prepared though because it makes things smooth.  Check out my old post on what to bring when you are traveling.



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