Nutrition Review – Initial Impressions
It is great to see Qantas providing all you morning frequent flyers with a range of healthy foods to get you set for the day! The foods on offer are different from the afternoon/evening so read on for my Qantas nutrition review for breakfast in the Business Class Lounge in Melbourne (Domestic).
- Let’s talk about eggs – I love these bundles of nutrition goodness. Protein rich, a source of folate, iron, omega -3 fats, vitamin A, E and B12, and the important antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein, eggs provide many essential nutrients to keep us healthy. What I like about this lounge is it has eggs cooked a variety of ways – both hard-boiled eggs and scrambled eggs. I have been in quite a few lounges that only offer scrambled eggs that are full of butter, cream and/or cheese (and sometimes powdered). And while eggs cooked this way can be delicious, they are more of a dish that should be eaten occasionally (think a great brunch out with friends, or cooking a nice weekend breakfast for the family). This is because scrambled eggs can be high in energy (kilojoules/calories) and if you choose to have these plus other common ‘hot food’ breakfast items such as bacon, sausages and hashbrowns regularly then it may contribute to a range of health conditions. But eggs on their own are quite low in energy, so I always love a lounge that offers hard boiled eggs so you can have a choice of which style of eggs you have.
- It is great to see legumes featuring at breakfast with baked beans on the menu. High in fibre, and a source of protein, these little nutrient powerhouses are not just healthy for vegetarians and vegans, but are healthy for everyone. Including more plant based foods in our diets is important and legumes are a great place to start. What you need to be careful of here though is the sauce on the baked beans – baked beans can be high in salt and added sugar, depending on how the sauce is made. So if baked beans are you favourite, try serving a little less of the sauce with the beans and include some less processed foods on your plate too such as cooked tomato, spinach, mushrooms, poached or boiled eggs.
- I love seeing Bircher Muesli on offer – with oats, nuts and seeds, fruit and yogurt this packs a nutritious punch! However be mindful of how much you serve yourself – Bircher Muesli can be quite energy dense and so it is best to keep your portion size to about ½-1 cup depending on whether you have other foods as well. They also have a range of yogurts available – always remember that plain yogurt is best!
- Pumpkin and chia seeds were available to add to cereal and yogurt options to add more nutrients such as omega 3s (from chia), iron (from chia and pumpkin), and fibre. Remember these also are a source of energy and so aiming for 1 tablespoons (1-2 teaspoons) will help bump up your nutrient intake but keep the calories/kilojoules lower.
- There are a range of vegetables and fruits available for making fresh juice and nothing stops you taking the fruits and vegetables and eating them. So why not take a carrot or some big chunks of watermelon from the juice bar and eat them! You get all the nutrients but without the concentrated hit of sugar!
Not so great- caution!
- Skip the pancake machine! Pancakes don’t really contain any nutrition benefits, but pack a punch when it comes to energy content and highly refined carbohydrates. And think what most of us put on pancakes – maple syrup, sugar, bacon etc. Again foods that don’t contain any nutrition benefits but add unwanted energy to your diet. Now if you love pancakes, it is ok to (I’m not completely hating on pancakes). However, think about how the ones in the lounge taste, are they any good or a bit… meh? If you don’t really think they are that great then don’t have them. Or if you do think they are, but you are in the lounge quite regularly, then only choose them once every month.
- Don’t automatically reach for the sausages if you are having a hot meal. Sausages, whether they are beef, chicken or pork, do not confer the same health effects as these meats when they are ‘plain’. Sausages are considered a ‘processed meat’ and contain added salt (sodium) and other preservatives such as nitrates and sulphites. It is these additives, as well as higher amounts of saturated and trans fats, and fillers, that have been associated with negative effects on our health such as increased risk of bowel cancer and cardiovascular disease. So just like the pancakes, keep these to once a month or skip them all together, and just enjoy a nice one on holidays or with the family as part of a meal (or if you are Australian on a trip to Bunnings).
- Oh Qantas why are most of your bread choices mostly white, light and look low in fibre? Where are the dense, grainy breads full of wholegrains that are good for our heath? If you like toast for breakfast choose protein- rich toppings rather than jam/honey or vegemite! This will help counteract the rapidly digestible carbohydrate (coming from the bread and jam/honey) and keep blood sugar levels more stable.
- And your cereal options could also be better. There is only one high fibre choice (muesli), and the rest are quite processed options with the potential for added sugar. If you do go for the cornflakes, or gluten free options, add some more fibre and nutrients by sprinkling chia and pumpkin seeds, and mixing half with muesli.
- Pastries, banana bread and muffins… these are not good breakfast choices. I am sure you are rolling your eyes at me thinking yes yes we know that. But why are they there? Obviously some people must eat them, and many of us can find it hard to resist eating foods once we have seen them. I suggest not even going over to that section of the buffet if it is breakfast time – keep them out of sight if you are someone who is tempted. They are just not good food choices to be having regularly. These choices could also be there for a small mid-morning snack, and if this is the case think to whether you have had one of these before- where they nice? Did you enjoy them? Because I find on many occasions mass produced pastries and muffins are really sweet with large amount of sugar and usually poor quality (think dry). And I find I usually end up regretting eating them. So once again use mindful eating strategies to just stop and think about what you are going to eat.
Last Word From A Nutrition And Healthy Eating Perspective!
Overall, good options for a healthy, nutritious and filling start to the day. You wont need to eat on the plane with the foods on offer in the lounge.
There are options suitable for vegetarians, and potentially vegans. Options for vegans are unclear as recipes/ingredient information not on display.
There are still some unhealthy choices, and some people gravitate to the hot options. If this is you be mindful with your choices and keep track of how often you eat these. If you usually travel in the morning then try and mirror the type of meal you would have at home on a normal week day, rather than a brunch out.
Example Of What To Aim For In The Qantas Melbourne Business Class Lounge (Domestic)
Visit Details – Qantas Melbourne Business Class Lounge (Domestic)
Menu of my day travel
And don’t forget if you would like me to do a specific nutrition lounge review then just let me know!