Last updated: Jan 13, 2009

Stuck at the airport with an unexpected delay or long layover? Sounds like a dieter's worst nightmare. But don't despair if you didn't plan ahead with a purse full of figure-friendly snacks.

When you're tired and stressed from a day of travel, you don't have the energy to decode all of the food choices available. If you're lucky, you'll wind up in an airport with loads of healthy eating options. If you find yourself surrounded by fattier fare, just follow my guide for figure-friendly on-the-go options.


Easy Italian entrees
If you're calorie counting, your first inclination is probably to head for that lonely-looking iceberg salad with chicken, or maybe a fruit cup full of hard melon. Stop right there.

Pizza may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you're on a diet, but it's my preferred Italian pick at the airport. It'll keep you full through your flight and with a few alterations, it won't do any diet damage. Make sure you select the slice with the most veggies, and follow these rules: Eat all of the toppings, cheese included, and aim to consume only half of the dough.


Chinese cuisine
I always order a small cup of whichever soup looks best. I tell clients to go for the hot-and-sour soup because it's lowest in calories. But both egg drop and wonton soup are fine, too, since they're broth based.

I add a side of sauteed vegetables and plain chicken, and steer clear of any sauces. That means no General Tso's or sweet-and-sour chicken!

Mexican fiesta
In a perfect world, you'd order a salad with grilled chicken—but when you're tired and stressed, something more indulgent may be calling your name. Opt for a soft taco filled with chicken, beans, and a spoonful of guacamole. Pass on the sour cream and cheese and you'll save loads of calories.


Newsstand noshing
The key here is to combine both carbs and protein. For some dieters, trail mix can be deadly. One little pack can contain up to five servings, weighing in at 700 calories per bag. Here's where you have to know yourself. If you're sure you can stick to a single serving, measure out your portion and stow the rest in the overhead bin. The combination of nuts, raisins, and chocolate will satisfy your sweet tooth and keep your stomach satisfied for hours.

My other favorites include a 200-calorie protein bar or a small handful of peanuts combined with either animal crackers or pretzels.

Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts
A cup of joe can cost a fortune; to save a few bucks, I opt for a Grande Skim Misto with a squirt of sugar-free syrup. It's mainly just a cup of regular coffee and a splash of steamed milk, plus the syrup adds a big flavor boost for very few calories.

If I need a quick food Starbucks fix, I order the apple bran muffin. At about 300 calories, it isn't exactly a dieter's best friend—but it isn't the worst of all evils. But steer clear of the muffins at Dunkin Donuts: They run higher in calories. Instead, I opt for a whole-grain bagel and save loads of calories by scooping out the insides.