If you are like 20% of the world, you have traveled in a plane in the last 12 months. Which means you were in an airport. As one of those travelers, on trip day you spent an average of 10 hours away from home, and your refrigerator. This means you either planned ahead very well, and have enough good, nutritious food until you reach your destination, or you are like the 90% of us who didn’t. We take the opportunity to use the extra time we inevitably have at the airport waiting for a connecting flight to buy food. Fortunately there are increasing options at the airport for the vegetarians among us.

Restaurants are recognizing the need to provide quality meat-free alternatives and most are willing to please the masses by subbing out chicken for avocado, for example. Current statistics show that 80% of restaurants in the USA have at least one vegan option. And airport restaurants are no exception. In fact, in my recent airport travels, I’ve noticed that menus that feature one or two vegetarian options; either by asterisk or, better, it is highlighted by a box, maybe under the “healthy options” section.

It wasn’t that long ago that I dreaded walking through airports, hungry and tired, with few possibilities of something to eat with my “restricted” diet. But now, what joy I find in walking past the mini markets in airports and seeing wonderfully delicious-looking chickpea curry salad, vegan dumplings, or a falafel wrap. You don’t even have to go to a restaurant to eat! Wow!

Photo by Heather Felty

Vegan Chana Masala at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport

I wasn’t even hungry when I bought the chickpea salad. I just couldn’t get over that a delicious, healthy vegetarian option was right there for the taking. I saved it for later, and it was seriously very good!

My message here is embrace this change, and help the movement grow! We can all agree that airport food is vastly more expensive than it should be, but make the investment in buying vegan to help ensure even more healthy selections are available. Tell the people you are paying that you are pleased with the positive change; such compliments are usually met with a smile.