Holidays start at the airport!

Good food at an airport? I have had my share of airport food over the years and some of it has been just foul, calorific and quite tasteless. Some examples are pre packed soggy sandwiches, un inspired soup and slightly dry bread or  an all day breakfast with what seems like steamed bacon full of wobbly fat hanging off, sausages that taste like they haven’t come close to any form of meat and well… perhaps you have done it yourself? When Terminal 5 opened it was a great surprise and quite a relief that you can get good foods before take off!

What do you eat before you fly? So much thought goes in to planning, booking, looking forward to and packing but do you plan your last meal on, perhaps British soil before taking off?

What you eat at the airport can affect how you feel on the flight, and also how you feel when arriving at your destination. I have never given this too much thought before.

Not long ago they launched a “park” in Terminal 5, an oasis of green in the middle of a bustling airport. I was invited here to a picnic. It was a very different experience coming to Terminal 5 without checking in but our visitor passes were picked up and we were inside the terminal in no time.

The park is a great idea. Airports can easily seem quite un-personal even if functional, and here they you have an opportunity to sit down and enjoy the green. The green is a mix of artificial and real plants, some of the lovely herbs and flowers.

Nutritionist Fiona Hunter was at hand to guide us through how the food we eat before a flight will have an impact on our mood, not only mid air but also when we land. What do you do when you are on a flight? I usually close my eyes and am fast asleep before taxing out and there are foods to help you wish that as well! Perhaps are you going on a long haul flight and want to arrive alert and in a good mood? Research done on behalf of Heathrow airport shows that it takes an average of two days before we chill out and feel relaxed so why not arrive in good time, have a lovely meal and start relaxing? At terminal 5 they recognize that not everyone loves airplane food and it is possible to get delicious food to take on board. I know I will be heading to Itsu or Plane Food to get my fix of delicious mid air foods! They both have boxes making the food last up to 4 hours after take off so for me, I will have time for a nap and then  a lovely meal.

It was a mix of foods at the picnic, showcasing food from all the vendors, see full list here,  we had some very delicious smoothies, healthy and dehydrating, perfect before a flight.

For those who crave, or wants to have some quintessential English foods, for example sandwiches and English cheeses as well as “before leaving the country” marmite fix, this is also catered for.


A selection of English cheeses

Another great place to eat that easily adds a bit of glamour to your travel is Caviar House, with it’s range of excellent seafoods and caviar it is so easy to chill out at their bar with a glass of wine and a light and healthy meal. Fish is very nutritious and contains plenty of Omega 3 that can help act as a “mood booster”.

Delicious salmon and prawn tartar from Caviar house – also available to take on board

At Gordon Ramseys plane food you can find not only excellent mac & cheese but you can also buy 3 course meals to take on board. They all come packed with everything you need to enjoy a great meal mid air. The boxes are especially designed and the food again, keeps for up to 4 hours.

They have a special menu, designed to boost your mood and energy levels called Healthy Heights Picnic. It starts with beetroot, carrot and chicory with pomegranate dressing, the main course is a delicious smoked chicken, mango and avocado salad and it has a super light but very tasty Fromage Frais yoghurt and plum ripple granola, well worth a try!

For my next long haul flight I will make sure to actually bring something healthy and tasty to eat. In flight meals can be ok but somehow they loose some charm along the way, between leaving the large catering kitchen and before being placed in front of me. Fish is great, quick and healthy, or the smoked chicken is a definite option. Avocado, and well, fruit and veg are great options and don’t forget the water, even if this is offered on board make sure you bring some of your own as well! We were recommended to drink 300 ml/hour, it might be a bit of a tall order for a long flight but I will make an effort to drink more of it (I will have less of the G&T’s). A small pack of oat cakes can also help balance your blood sugar as a snack.

Bring food on board if you don’t like the mid air meals, stock up on water, oat cakes, nuts/raisins and think ahead, how do you want to arrive at your destination – start your holiday at the airport!

4 Responses to “Holidays start at the airport!”
  1. Dear Petra, when you have young kids like me, food airport is a nightmare. You just want to arrive to the plane as quickly as you can and sit. On the other hand I DO NOT LIKE plane food, free or paid for: I do not like it (well I cannot afford to travel in first class…). So I organize picnics: snacks, panini, fruits, homemade cakes… it keeps the kids busy. One day I will enjoy eating good food at the airport with a nice coffee in silent again…one day.

    • petra08 says:

      good morning Rita

      I fully understand the children and airports! When they are older you can arrive early and enjoy a glass of wine and some nice foods! And I agree with you re airplane foods, pretty much all of them and love the idea of bringing snacks! I love dried fruits and nuts but I have never managed to drink 300 ml of water/fluid per hour! I will bring the sushi next time, am sure it will be a nice change!

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