Traveling with a Calorie Budget

Airport restaurants now participating in healthy menu program.

Vacation calories are a real thing. I’ve heard of people near-starving themselves in anticipation of the food they will eat while on vacation, or running mile after mile post-travel to burn off their indulgences. This gets ramped up to the nth degree in New Orleans, where we spend breakfast talking about lunch.

As with most things in life, balance is the key. And new menu options at the airport of all places can play a role in your health and happiness.

Starting last week, four restaurants at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport began to offer menu items approved by the Eat Fit NOLA program. The program was created by a dietician at Ochsner Fitness Center with the goal of helping New Orleanians live healthier lives. More than 70 restaurants participate in the Greater New Orleans area, and now healthy menu items are available for travelers at the airport as well.

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Eat Fit NOLA menu items are now featured on the menus at the airport locations of Copeland's, Dooky Chase's, Ye Olde College Inn, and Zatarain's. Each restaurant offers an entrée that meets the nutritional requirements of the program, and the items are indicated with the Eat Fit seal of approval on the menu. Eat Fit-approved entrées must be less than 600 calories, low in added sugar and sodium, and have no white, refined starches or trans fats.

"Our goal with Ochsner Eat Fit is to take the guesswork out of dining out healthfully. With Eat Fit NOLA, visitors can enjoy traditional New Orleans cuisine that's both nutritious and delicious." says Molly Kimball, registered dietitian with Ochsner Fitness Center and founder of Eat Fit NOLA. "We are delighted to bring Eat Fit NOLA to the Airport so that even when you're traveling, you can indulge without the guilt."

"Eating right while traveling has not always been easy, that is why bringing Eat Fit NOLA to the Airport is such a great opportunity," said Cheryl Teamer, chairwoman of the New Orleans Aviation Board. "As the North Terminal concessions plan starts to develop, we look forward to integrating the Eat Fit NOLA initiative into it."

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Having recently found myself faced with a plate of fried string beans at the TGI Friday’s in the Atlanta airport, I especially appreciate the options that Eat Fit NOLA encourages. I seek comfort food when I travel, and for me that means hot food. Salad just doesn’t cut it. The cooked entrées approved by the program are delicious meals that chefs create and take pride in. And here in NOLA, those dishes are often inspired by the Creole and Cajun cuisine we are known for.

If you are a health-conscious eater and want to be mindful during your entire trip to New Orleans, check out the other restaurants around town that participate in Eat Fit NOLA. The options tend to be seasonal and delicious. Bon appétit! 


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