I’ve had a few interesting lounge experiences at Berlin Tegel airport over the years (won’t it be great when Brandenburg opens up… haha well lets not get into that here shall we) – both in the British Airways lounge in the main terminal and then in the little Air Berlin lounge when they were flying out of the shed (well that’s what I called Terminal C). But back to the British Airways Terraces Lounge in Terminal A – what are the food options like?
First of all it should be mentioned that all foods on offer are basically packaged without any need for cooking. Picture packaged sandwiches, yogurts, pasta pots (think just add hot water), icecreams etc. No hot meals other than the hot dogs (sausages) and white rolls..
- Snacks – the snacks are pretty good! Quite a variety of healthy choices which is great, and variety is key for eating well. There is nothing worse than when you are trying to eat well and there is only one option to have. It is always so great to have a range of choices so you can also think about what you feel like and what looks good. So thumbs up here!
- A range of vegetable sticks (or crudites) – if I was putting emojis here it would be the double hands up in the air! #winning! That’s all I will say about the vegetable snacks!
- Good to see olives offered! Olives are a good source of healthy fats, low in carbohydrates and full of antioxidants. While olives are high in energy (due to having ~11-15% monounsaturated fats), having a serve of olives (about 5-10 depending on the size) can be quite healthy. Don’t forget olives can also be high in salt if they are kept in brine, another reason to just stick to a serve – so you get all the goodness but keep the salt and energy to a minimum.
- Cheeses! Lots of cheeses! If you eat dairy foods, there are a number of cheese varieties on offer (Camembert, Feta, cream cheese etc) – source of protein, calcium and vitamin B2!
- There were a range of yogurts available. Yogurt is a great option for a snack or part of a meal as it is high in protein, with a low glycemic index (low GI). This means it releases its energy more slowly when being digested which is beneficial for health. Many fruit flavoured yogurts have added sugar, so it is best to choose plain, natural yogurt. Plain yogurt has around 4g sugar/100g – this is the naturally occurring lactose. Anything about this is usually added sugar so always check the nutrition information panel and ingredient list to know what you are eating.
- Rye crackers (like Ryvitas) were available as crackers which was great. They have relatively few ingredients, usually just wholegrain rye flour and salt, and each cracker is a source of fibre. I would always choose a rye cracker such as these over a rice cracker or water cracker. I also saw some pumpernickel bread too!
Not so great- caution!
- All the foods are packaged or pre-prepared! I suspect there isn’t a kitchen in this lounge as all foods served are either pre-prepared or have minimal preparation.
- Only one ‘hot dish’ and I wouldn’t even call this a main meal. It was hot dogs in a large thermos keeping warm with white bread rolls. Now yes I know we are in Germany where sausages are king, and so some people would really enjoy this. While I am all for people eating foods they like, having only a processed meat option is not very healthy. Processed meats contain sodium and preservatives such as nitrates, and have been associated with an increased risk of some cancers such as bowel cancer when eaten regularly. So I recommend avoiding these.
- Actually there are also pasta cups (where you add hot water) so I guess there is a second ‘hot meal’ technically – but instant pasta/noodle cups are usually not great choices (think salt, additives, no vegetables etc etc).
- The sandwiches aren’t the best! While I have nothing against sandwiches (I actually love them and you should see me go for some of the ones I have had in the Finnair Schengan lounge), these sandwiches aren’t the best. What I thought was they are mostly bread (and mostly while bread varieties), and they don’t have much in the way of fillings i.e. what I saw was mostly processed meat with tiny amounts of salad (one variety had egg but that’s it). So if you choose a sandwich chances are it might not be very filling and or nutritious.
- Crisps – I had to mention them. Of course there are crisps -it is a BA lounge after all. But just think how easy crisps are to eat while waiting for a flight. Picture sitting in the lounge with a beer or wine, crisps, smashing out some emails and then all of a sudden the crisps are gone. All eaten and you don’t even really remember eating them. So you get some more. You get the picture. Be mindful – if you find it hard to stop at just a small handful of crisps then steer clear. And yes this applies to the pretzels and mini crackers in the bowl next to the crisps too!
- Biscuits, cakes. icecreams and a bowl of chocolates – need I say more!
Last Word From A Nutrition And Healthy Eating Perspective!
The food choices are ok. While technically there are some healthy choices in this lounge (mainly snacks), it takes effort and some creativity to make a healthy, balanced meal. If you are tired, rushed or some of the food is running low, then eating well would be difficult.
I was hungry and hadn’t had lunch when I visited the lounge (which was silly of me as I have been in this lounge a number of times before and should have remembered the reduced capacity for food). But I was happy there were vegetable sticks, rye crackers, and cheese. I then also took one of the sandwiches, took the filling out (egg, tomato and small amount of ham) and placed it on a rye cracker rather than the bread. This way I reduced the amount of refined carbohydrate and increased my fibre intake (haha #dietitiangoals).
They have done pretty well if they lack a kitchen and decent food preperation area.
Overall I managed to put together a healthy option, but if you were flying out of Tegel often I understand these choices would quickly become tiresome.
And don’t forget if you would like me to do a specific airline lounge nutrition review then just let me know!
NOTE: All pictures are my own and I review a lounge from just the foods I see during my visit. There may be different options available at other times.