Airline Lounge Nutrition Review – Initial Impressions
The old Finnair Premium Lounge at Helsinki was always one of my favourite airline lounges – I always thought it was very comfortable with great staff, whisky and delicious healthy food choices. So when I was at Helsinki- Vantaa early 2019 and saw it was being renovated – I knew I had to be back as soon as it reopened to see what the new Finnair Platinum Wing was like!
And I must admit – I like what I saw!
Not only were the food choices outstanding – delicious food with Finnish flavours, but they were nutritious with many options that fit well in a healthy diet.
And I was also very impressed to see the kitchen behind the buffet – so you can see the chefs and cooks preparing the food! I really loved this as it really highlighted the importance Finnair places on good quality, fresh food.
So, while getting a peak into the kitchen impressed me – what did I think food? How did the food options stack up nutritionally?
- The cheese and fruit board area is a stand out! A large range of cheeses – a range of both hard and soft cheeses are available, along with a range of fruits, fig jam and crackers.
Pickled vegetables – need I say more?! It is great to see these available in the lounge and they make a delicious addition to both a snack or a meal. Fermented vegetables may confer additional health benefits through the health bacteria they contain. (A quick note though – not all fermented vegetables contain these beneficial bacteria if they have been heat treated to improve storage conditions on supermarket shelves).
Delicious salmon and steak dishes had an abundance of flavour, but without heavy, rich sauces. Both dishes melted in your mouth! These meats were in perfect portion sizes and great to see you can have nice meats without them swimming in calorie-dense sauces.
Ah my favourite rye bread – I nearly just fly Finnair for the thin slices of rye bred available. This bread is flavoursome, dense and the slices are quite thin. This means you get all the delicious flavour of the bread, it fills you up and so you don’t need to eat as much. This is beneficial for health as not only will you be having less calories, but your blood sugar levels will not rise as high after eating it. (Lower blood sugar levels helps reduce the risk of diabetes etc).
- I could easily put together a balanced plate – half a plate of vegetables, a quarter plate of carbohydrates and a quarter plate of protein! I know I always go on about the ‘health plate model’ for putting together meals – but it really is an easy guide to putting together a healthy meal when you are travelling and you don’t know much about what is in a dish.
While there are cakes and slices available – they are in bite sized pieces which can help with portion control. Enjoy 1-2 small pieces!
Small sides were plated up in perfect portion sizes.
There were seeds available to boost the fibre, protein and taste of the green salads on offer!
- While I didn’t have time to order a meal from the dining area, it looks like the choices are fairly healthy with simple dishes and a lot of flavour.
Not so great- caution!
- It would be great to see more vegetables available as snacks in the cheese board bar area. There are vegetables available in the main buffet area, and these are pickled/fermented so many people may not eat these as snacks.
- The crackers in the cheese area seem to be white, low fibre crackers – it would be good to have higher fibre and grainier options also available. The dense finish rye bread is available in the lounge though and so this could be used as a nice choice instead of crackers.
Last Word From A Nutrition And Healthy Eating Perspective!
I am very impressed with the food options in the Finnair Platinum Wing – I find them a standout from both a quality and nutrition perspective. I really like the fact you can get quite plain, yet flavoursome foods, and then add your own dressings/extras how you like. This helps enormously when you are trying to eat well when travelling. And the fact the foods are delicious, I find it less tempting to then seek out ‘more unhealthy’ options.
Because this lounge is in the non-schengen area, the chances are you will be getting on a long-haul flight somewhere (well maybe the exception being UK). That means you will most likely be served a main meal quite soon after being in the lounge – so if you are in business class you probably don’t need to eat a large amount before getting on the plane (as a lovely Finnair meal is coming your way), but if you are in economy you might want to consider the lounge to be your main meal. The options they serve, and the portions they serve them in allow you to easily serve yourself small amounts of food, and makes it less easy to overeat.
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.