Airline Lounge Nutrition Review – Initial Impressions
I like your style Qantas – an Asian food theme here in this lounge, with multiple hot dish options from both a buffet and also a chef run ‘Spice Bar’ kitchen. There is also a salad and sandwich bar, and a snack bar which are more in the food style of ‘modern Australian’. Here is my nutrition lounge review of this new Qantas lounge!
- Vegetables, vegetables, vegetables – for anyone who already follows me you will know how seriously I take my vegetables. Vegetables are highly nutritious and we should be having at least 5 serves per day (how much is that you ask – 2.5 cups of cooked vegetables or 5 cups of salad). This lounge has a vegetable crudités bar with a range of colourful vegetables that is such a great option for both snacks and a main meal. There are also a number of salads with fantastic flavours. You can easily get half your daily recommended intake of vegetables in this lounge – if you make vegetables the main part of your meal or snack.
- The variety of foods is a stand out for this lounge! Multiple hot options, cold salad options, range of protein options (other than just ham – Qantas club I am looking at you), along with vegetable crudites, crackers and dip. I feel there is something for everyone – no matter if you are there for just a snack or if you are looking to have main meal before your flight.
- Nuts – fabulous choice! High in protein and fibre (helpful for keeping you full), and depending on the nut a range of vitamins and minerals – nuts are a standout choice for a snack. Use the small plates provided with the snacks and only place one spoonful on there – this will be about a handful which is what you should aim for when having nuts as a snack.
- Quench Hydration Station – now I love this idea! A number of water-based options to keep you hydrated while flying – cold water and sparkling water, and then waters flavoured with vegetables, fruits and herbs. These lightly flavoured waters are a great idea as they have some flavour, but no added sugar or additives. Perfect for people who don’t always find plain water as their preferred first choice.
- Top marks for offering a rage of healthy snacks – this lounge is one of the best I have seen. Always available are a large range of vegetable crudites, crackers (although I would like to see some high fibre crackers someday), cheese, nuts and dips. Yes there are also some unhealthier snacks available but if you want to make good choices they are there.
Not so great- caution!
- While I commend Qantas for offering a ‘hydration station’ with a range of non-alcoholic drinks, I couldn’t see any information aboutwhat was in them. There were two flavours – one labelled Lemon Juice Cordial and one labelled Pink Grapefruit. I would assume from the cordial label there is added sugar – this just means watch how much you drink as it could be high in energy and sugar (which can be similar to soft drinks and normal juice).
- If you only head to the bar area then you can still have a nutritious snack, however you need to be careful. There are a number of snacks on offer on the bar: salted nuts, rice snacks and soy crisps. Steer clear of the rice snacks and soy crisps – these are a highly processed foods with no real nutrition benefit. Also, they are incredibly easy to overeat, without really filling you up (this can push up your energy and refined carbohydrate intake unnecessarily – which is not good for when you sitting around on planes for hours).
- Jars of lollies, chocolates and biscuits! Now I know these are here to give people a small sweet treat after their meal, or for a snack in the afternoon (and lets be honest I quite enjoy a chocolate biscuit or two on occasions) – but where it becomes an issue is when you are flying regularly and having tempting sweet treats a few times a day and few times a week.
- Highly refined carbs dominate the food options – having an Asian-style food theme means lots of boiled white rice, noodles and fried rice. On top of this most of the bread and cracker options are also white and low in fibre. These foods are low in fibre and high in easily digestible carbohydrates – meaning they deliver all their energy into the body very quickly which is not very healthy when being sedentary in lounge and on airplanes. So, make sure you have no more than 1 spoon of rice/noodles with any meal and ensure plenty of vegetables and protein.
Now while you all know I love vegetables in airline lounges (you only need to see my Instagram feed to know I am crazy for them), the Asian-style food theme can mean some vegetable dishes come with a lot of oil and can be very greasy and high in energy. Try having a mix of these cooked vegetables and salad options from the salad bar so you get the nutritious benefits of the vegetables, they great taste too, but reduce the unnecessary energy and fat.
Watch out for the main hot meals – they can be very heavy and high in energy e.g. the curry that was on offer during my visit looked like it high in calories/kilojoules.
Last word from a nutrition and healthy eating perspective!
This newer style of Qantas business class lounge is leaps ahead of their old business class lounges which generally had a lot less food options. There were many times when I didn’t find anything I wanted to eat. But now the variety of foods is so important for providing nutrient rich options for people not matter what time they are flying; whether they would like a full meal, a snack or just a beverage. However, because the food is served as buffet-style there can be temptations to eat more food than required and double up on meals. Choose to have either a main meal in the lounge or on the plane – not both.
Also, if you are trying to cut back on eating foods in airline lounges there is a space with just fresh fruit and water for people to sit. I like this as lounge visits do not always need to involve eating and drinking, however seeing and smelling foods/drinks can make it hard to not have something.
Qantas certainly has provided a great business class lounge here in Melbourne – it provides many nutritious food choices for people, however it relies on people making good choices as there are still food options that are not so great. I understand people should have the choice when it comes to food, so it is important to stop and consider your choices.
Nutrition Lounge Review: Example of what to aim for in the Qantas Melbourne Business Class Lounge (Domestic)
Visit details – Qantas Melbourne Business Class Lounge (Domestic)
Time of Visit/Date: Sunday 28/4/19 at 1pm-2.30pm
Lounge Food Serving Style: Buffet/Self- serve style, however there is a ‘Spice bar’ which offers two dishes which are served by a chef.
And don’t forget if you would like me to do a specific nutrition lounge review then just let me know!
NOTE: Pictures are all my own.