We at Menos Malo spend a great deal of time in airports and airplanes. Enough that we have learned some tricks towards a less bad approach regarding the food options at airports.

Patience is a virtue

The ostrich wants out.

Let’s first agree on one thing, airports are chock full of really, really, really bad for you eating options.  Unfortunately, there is a reason for that:

Money!

Most Port Authorities – they are the “evil” entities that run airports and other modes of transportation for your city – charge crazy amounts of rent and other fees – usually up front – to the merchants that operate inside their facilities. Because they can’t pass on all those costs – not from lack of trying* – to us the traveler they have to instead save as much as possible from their production costs. This means that they will use less quality ingredients or have as much pre-processed food as possible.

That is why you tend to see so many fast food places and very few cook-as-you-order restaurants. These junk food places are the best at still making a decent margin from selling us food that costs them very little to make. From our previous posts, you know that if fast food restaurants are your only option you can still find some Menos Malo options in them. However, go for the cook-as-you-order restaurants first, but avoid their carbohydrate (potatoes, pasta, rice) options as they are just as processed (if not more than what you get at the fast food joints).

What a difference

On the left: you before the flight; On the right: you after the flight

There are some smaller airports that limit their offerings to what you can buy pre-bagged at their news and magazine shops. When faced with only those options, go for the Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios type of nuts – avoid Peanuts – instead of the typical Lay’s or Combos or Doritos bags. Even Pretzel bags are a decent enough option compared to some of the very bad for you Lay’s Chips.

Also, it should go without saying, but we will say it anyway: buy that expensive water bottle instead of a soft drink. We are the biggest fans of a nice, cold cup of fountain Coke – or Pepsi – that you will find and not even the Diet kind. We like the honest to goodness, delicious taste of regular Coke – or Pepsi – yet we know how bad it is for us and that is why we avoid it like the plague.

We aren’t always successful, but nine out of ten times we opt for water instead. In fact, if you are of age and don’t have a reason not to, go for a beer or wine instead of the soft drink. It tastes much better and it has less calories than the cola. And hey, if you are going to have a beer, go for whatever is on draft – say “ugh!” to bottles – and go for the craft/import beers like Sam Adams, Dogfish Head, Stella, Guinness – My Goodness My Guinness – or whatever local brew they happen to have. They simply taste better than the light beer you think you like.

My Goodness My Guiness

Airplanes have no tastebuds, but you do.

Okay, so you made it on to the airplane and avoided most of the perils at the airport – kudos to you on having that craft/import beer – and so you ask “What is Menos Malo for me on the plane?”. Well, you should only drink water from bottles on the airplane and then nothing else since nothing is what they serve nowadays in airplanes, you should have no problem following that.

Menos Malo Bottom Line: Almost everyone uses travel as an excuse to eat and drink whatever they want. For business travel, this is simply a bad excuse. You’ll have to suck it up and go for the less bad alternatives every single time. For leisure travel, this is a great excuse, but only apply it at your vacation destination. Don’t commit the Airror – we just had to sneak it in there again – of using that excuse at the airport/airplane.