Airline Lounge Nutrition Review – Initial Impressions
Ok, so living in Melbourne I visit the Qantas Business Lounge Melbourne domestic a lot (well it used to be a lot before Covid and I am just starting to get back to flying more regularly). And so I have been able to visit the lounge a number of times to split up the review into breakfast and then lunch/dinner reviews. In fact you will have noticed me do that in my pre-covid reviews – I have developed different assessment criteria for different times of the day to try and capture the different contexts food gets eaten in to get a good idea of the nutrients.
But back to the Qantas Business Lounge Melbourne domestic – what was breakfast like? Well it was ok. There were some healthy and nutritious choices from the cold menu, however the hot menu options were not great (both from a nutrition and food quality perspective).
So lets go explore the food choices further.
- Natural yogurt pots – I just love they have plain, natural yogurt on offer. A good source of protein, calcium and slowly digested carbohydrates, this is a good option for breakfast to help keep you feeling full. Just watch out for the fruit coulis on top – which is usually pureed fruit mixed with sugar.
- Great choice in offering Bircher Muesli. Bircher muesli contains oats, nuts and seeds, fruit and yogurt – and this certainly packs a nutritious punch!
- Whole pieces of fruit – need I say more? Vitamins, antioxidants and other phytonutrients in here. Always good to consider for a snack – remember just because you are in the lounge and they are serving breakfast doesn’t mean you have to eat breakfast. If you have already had breakfast before leaving home, then a piece of fruit is perhaps all you need.
- Hello chia pots! Oh I love Qantas is offering these as they can make for a nice change from yogurt or muesli. Chia seeds are a source of soluble fibre and omega-3 fats, both of which are important nutrients for health. For many of us we could really use a boost of these 2 nutrients in our daily diets and so grabbing one of these pots for breakfast is a great choice.
- So great to see Baked Beans as a hot option dish one day in the lounge. Baked beans are a great source of plant based protein and also soluble fibre. Just try not to eat too much of the sauce as we can’t be sure how much sugar/salt is included in the recipe. Also there was multigrain toast as an option this day in the lounge – now multigrain isn’t necessarily as good as wholegrain as but it is a start.
Not so great (caution)
- While the DIY pancake machines are not available currently in the lounge, pancakes were on offer at the Hot Snacking station and they looked just like the ones that come out of the machines. Now pancakes are ok to have occasionally for breakfast, but I do not recommend having them often (especially with maple syrup). Basically they are like eating a piece of white bread with honey – not very nutritious.
- Be careful of hot dishes with processed meats – think sausages, ham and bacon. I would not have these more than 1-2 times per month for breakfast, and so if you are a frequent visitor of the lounge I would ask for the eggs without these.
- Pastries – deceptively high in energy, these little bundles of calories (kilojoules) can really add up and push you over your recommended daily intake of energy. It can be tempting to have something sweet after a meal, or even for a snack, however these types of foods are not great choices. For example a blueberry muffin from Muffin Break (similar to muffins you can buy in many different cafes and similar to the one in the picture) has ~2000kj and 6 teaspoon of sugar. This is enough energy for a meal, and over 3 times the energy we suggest for a snack. Considering their high energy content, and low nutrient density I would not choose these as an option for breakfast or for a snack. And think as well – if you are travelling in the mid-morning in economy, chances are you will be offered a cake or sweet biscuit as your snack on the plane.
Last word from travel nutrition review of Qantas Business Lounge Melbourne Domestic for breakfast!
I struggled to enjoy breakfast in this lounge. Again I say I know times were challenging when I reviewed the lounge due to Covid, however I still think some small improvements could be made to make the choices healthier and tastier. I do think their cold selection of foods for breakfast are pretty good. But for myself, I need a really solid breakfast to start my day and to stop myself getting hungry and snacking throughout the morning. And I find these cold options a little light on for this. The hot meal choices were not great – even though eggs are always a good staple for me for breakfast, I had a sneaky suspicion the scrambled eggs were powdered (so much water and the colour wasn’t quite right I didn’t think).
I look forward to the next phase of this lounge as more and more people start flying domestically. And if you would like to see what I thought of the lounge pre-covid have a look at my previous review.
Here are the three menus I reviewed:
For more information on my visits to airport lounges, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram. And I always love hearing from you so if you want personalised advice or consultancy services please reach out.
And here is a refresher on how I conduct a food and nutrition review of an airport lounge.
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.