Order good food (off the menu)

I travel about half the year, and spend more time at airports than my own home!

How can I stay healthy? I eat right at the airport, and avoid plane food whenever possible.

Eat right at the airport? How can this be done since it is all fast or chain food?

Simple: Go Danny Devito and order ‘off the menu’. Recently, while sitting through a huge delay at Chicago O’Hare airport, I went into an Italian eatery and put together a meal that Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food) would be proud of.

I was very friendly with the server, told him about my quest to eat right at the airport, and quizzed him about the fresh veggies and simple proteins they had in the kitchen. I ended up ordering a half of grilled chicken breast on a half cup of fresh pasta and a big pile of steamed vegetables. (The reason I order a reduced portion of protein is that frequently, protein pushes veggies off the plate. In fact, according to Pollan, we should treat our animal protein portion like a side dish rather than an entre).

I’ve pulled this off at various fast food joints, such as Chinese and even Au Bon Pain.

The moral: Eating right is about thinking, negotiating and staying disciplined. Frequently travelers don’t really do that much. Often we eat bad food for comfort, and wonder why we either gain weight or catch colds on a monthly basis. Pollan has it nailed when he advises: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.