Airline Lounge Nutrition Review – Initial Impressions
The Qantas Club Adelaide – nice to see you again! A combination lounge of both Qantas Club and Business Class Lounge (and both Domestic and International combined too), so I was interested to see whether the food options were slightly different compared to other Qantas domestic business class lounges. Would it be more like Qantas Club? Or would it be slightly better due to it being International and there being a very limited number of international lights leaving still (and I stress limited).
What I found? Well the food was very similar to other Qantas Business Class lounges – the options were not that different. Still the same format of one hot meal or soup, vegetable and cheese plate, small salad bowl option, sandwich option and dessert. And yes when I write it out like this it does sound like there is a heap of variety (I admit), but when you start flying regularly you will see that the options are quite limited and the food quality not as good as it used to be. So this can reduce your choices on the menu.
Ok Qantas Club Adelaide… show us what you got for lunch/dinner options!
- Ahhhhh would it be a travel dietitian review without the obligatory comment regarding the covid vegetable stick plates! for those that follow me you know these get a big tick from me as I always recommend vegetables being available for a snack or meal at anytime. What I liked about these ones in the Qantas Club Adelaide was the mix of the vegetables and cheese, rather than the cheese coming on a plate with salami and olives. this will hopefully help encourage people to have some colourful vegetables when sitting in the lounge not matter the time of day.
- Now you all know I am very picky with the salads offered by Qantas whether it was pre- covid or during covid – just because you put it in a small bowl doesn’t mean it is considered a healthy salad. But this salad gets a thumbs up from me – edamame beans, kale a brown rice tick all the boxes. And no, I am not a lover of kale so I’m not just saying this because trendy kale appears in the bowl – I would say the same if it was spinach too as a source of dark green leafy vegetables is very healthy (source of folate, antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and lutein, vitamin K to name a few benefits). I love there are legumes in this salad which are a source of soluble fibre and slowly digestible carbohydrates which make this a good choice for helping keep you felling full and balancing out the effects of the brown rice.
- OK so while I have placed the potato salad under the What’s Healthy heading, I really have a love/hate relationship with it. Cooked and cooled potatoes are a source of resistant starch, a type of starch that escapes digestion and end up in the large intestine where it is broken down by bacteria. This is good for the gut health and so you can see why potato salad may be considered healthy. However, while the base of the salad may be good, it is the added extras to potato salad that the can make it less healthy. It is all in the amount of mayonnaise and bacon added – and this one wasn’t too bad. Only a light amount of mayonnaise and the bacon easily pushed to the side.
- Fresh fruit! Love it! Sometimes a piece of fresh fruit is all you need. And there was a fruit salad bowl available too!
- Vegetable soups are a great option for getting more vegetables into your day and this one from Qantas, a red lentil soup, sounds like a great option. Now I say ‘sounds like’ and this is because I have no idea of the actual recipe used. What % is actual lentils? Are there any other vegetables in the soup like tomatoes. What about added flavours such as cream and salt? So will give this dish the benefit of the doubt and place in the What’s Healthy section, however be mindful that it is not a green light to go nuts and eat huge amounts. But view it as an opportunity to eat more legumes and have a small portion for a meal.
Not so great (caution)
- I hear you wondering why I have this sandwich under the caution category when you spy salad on it. I can tell you are thinking why am I not shouting from the rooftops??? Well, yes absolutely I am pleased to see some salad on this sandwich, I am looking at it holistically. And unfortunately the large amount of foccacia bread outweighs the benefits of the small amount of salad.
- I do not hate on pasta at all, that is not why it is here – on the contrary I love a well balanced pasta dish. However I don’t find this very balanced. It didn’t seem to have much mince in it, well really it didn’t seem to have much in it at all other than sauce. I did not see any vegetables, and it tasted very salty. I feel the quality of this dish could be improved. The only thing I loved was the serve size – the bowl fit into the palm of my hand which means I estimate no more than 1 cup of cooked pasta (so 1-2 serves). If you choose to have this make sure you have a load of vegetables from the vegetable stick plates. Or if there is a colourful vegetable salad bowl have on of these too.
- Ahhhh the good old chicken cacciatore dish – this seems to be the face of the Qantas lounges during covid. This seems to be the hot dish everytime I visit either the Melbourne or Sydney Business Lounge and I also see it is a favourite of Adelaide too. Now I know there will be a degree of standardisation across all Qantas lounges across the country regarding the meal choices, however it nearly feels like this is one of the only choices on offer. Hopefully more variety come into play. But back to the dish, I don’t love it because it is served with white rice and when there are no wholegrain options in the lounge (think this lounge had foccacia bread, water crackers, rice in one of the salads and the other salad mainly of potatoes) then having rice all the time is not great when travelling. It was god to see vegetables in this dish though and compared to other lounges I feel there were some more vegetables in this batch.
- Ahhh the desserts – no explanation needed except caution. Choose mindfully.
- Chips (crisps) and lollies – they are a temptation when sitting around waiting for a flight. I would recommend avoiding these two choices, even if they are in small bowls. (Once you start it can be hard to stop sometimes as these foods can be quite moorish). If you do feel like a bar snack, choose the nuts.
Last word from travel nutrition review of Qantas Club Adelaide!
Not bad Qantas Club Adelaide, I could make the options work in this lounge. I still feel the food quality could improve and will be interested to see what the food choices continue to be like as Covid continues. But not a bad start, while there are still choices here that aren’t amazing, with some thought and making mindful choices you can eat well in this lounge.
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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.