Healthier travel via Sydney International Airport

Sydney International Airport is changing for the better.  Carol Sadler, one of our travelling Registered Nutritionists, has passed through Sydney International Airport several times over the last few years.  Although healthy food to start a long haul flight has been scarce in the past, major renovations have been going on for a few years, which will hopefully provide some attractive new eateries.

Sydney International Airport, 8km South of the city centre and operating out of domestic and international terminals saw 39.7 million passengers pass through in 2015.  Customer reviews on sushi rolls IMG_20160426_130749863_HDRSkytrax give the airport a 4/10 rating. However, we know that travellers rarely write reviews to say that everything was OK.

While beyond ‘security’ the terminal is still a work in progress, many people chose to eat with their non-travelling friends and family, at the extensive range of cafes and fast food outlets just behind the check-in desks.  While there is an abundance of fried food, there are also quiet coffee shops and more healthy options.  Soul Origins offers ‘amazing salads and sandwiches, seasonal soups and fruit salads’; perfect before a long flight.  Other healthy choices are sushi rolls and salad bars, all quick to serve and eat, which is essential when you still have to navigate the uncertain timing of passport control and security.

After reaching the departure terminal, the extensive range of shopping and limited/under construction food outlets becomes apparent.  Finding a place with a pleasant ambiance and food that isn’t loaded with sugar, fat and salt is still a challenge.  Salty food is a bad way to start a journey; even mild dehydration pre-long haul flights can lead to a headache or worse.  By taking the time to explore, I found some fresh tasty dishes at Express Noodle, with bowls of oodon noodle soup with fresh green pak choy.

New designer eateries are planned in the ‘under construction’ City View dining area.  The stars will be a Bistro by the Austrian-American celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, a burger joint by acclaimed Melbourne chef Shannon Bennett serving organic and wild-sourced ingredients and a Kitchen by Mike, the squeezed juice guru Mike McEnearney.

Express Noodle IMG_20160426_133444196Water is often an over-priced purchase in airport terminals, and Sydney is no different.  The savvy travellers now carry an empty water bottle through security checks and at the departure gates there are water dispensers where these can be filled.  Many passengers don’t rely on the beverages served during the flight to stay hydrated.  I find the low humidity and variable supply of onboard drinks make it essential to carry my own water supply.

Some Skytrax reviewers noted that the shops are being renovated, but little has been done to improve passenger facilities such as the overcrowded boarding gates.  The automated immigration procedures are definitely an improvement on the slow queues that use to exist, but the renovation of Sydney International Terminal has been progressing slowly for a few years and is still far from complete. In a recent article in The Age newspaper, an analyst noted that international passengers generate around four times more revenue than domestic passengers.  The perennial growth in the number of international passengers through Sydney International Airport should be spurring a more rapid completion of the much-needed upgrade.  A greater choice of healthy food outlets and some relaxing lounges with natural light and quiet seating areas would be a greatly appreciated.  Let’s hope the new eating outlets live up to their celebrity status.

If your business trip includes a few days to unwind, then click on to 100 Best Things to do in Australia for some inspirational ideas on what you can do while there.

© ExtraVitality 2016


Author: Carol Sadler PhD
Carol is a Nutrition Consultant. She counsels in diet and lifestyle change at Surrey Cardiovascular Clinic where clients have been referred by the clinic cardiologists. Prior to this Carol worked in private practice in Dubai for nine years, where she had various media engagements including Emirates Radio 2 Lifestyle Show monthly ‘phone-in’ on nutrition topics; Gulf News Friday Magazine (weekend supplement) monthly nutrition letter answered; City7 TV appearances on Breakfast Television and Lifestyle Show commenting on nutrition topics. Contributions to local magazines, and organizations, eg Rheumatoid Arthritis Group, Grazia Magazine, Living in the Gulf magazine. She continues to write nutrition articles and blogs, recently writing for Reader’s Digest, and HASTE Academy heart health charity and provides talks on diet issues. Carol is a member of The Nutrition Society, a Registered Nutritionist at the Association for Nutrition, Registration No. 912 and a member of SENSE (self employed consultant Nutritionists group for professional development).

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