by Cheshire Que RND, RN, RD
Imagine the crowd, long lines, air turbulence and cramped seats. Whether it’s a short flight or a long haul one, flying can be stressful. Waiting for your flight to board can be boring and it’s so tempting to eat sweets, high fat and high caloric foods available in the airport shops. Lack of sleep and fatigue can weigh you down and affect your immune system. Therefore, your body needs good nutrition when traveling.
I once woke up during a long flight because I felt my tummy grumbling. I missed one snack! I asked my brother what was served and he eagerly said: “Ice cream sandwich!” I felt so frustrated and hungry. From then on, I learned to bring my own snack on board.
Have healthy snacks on hand. Pack some homemade trail mix made from multigrain cereal, unsalted nuts and dried fruits. You can also have high fiber granola bars, whole wheat crackers with cheese dip or peanut butter, dried fruits, bread, bagel, pretzels, an apple or dark chocolate. Remember to check airport policies for flights with stopovers. Some airports do not allow food to be brought in from foreign countries.
Ever wondered why your body feels bloated and your face is puffy after a long flight? Watch the amount of sodium and saturated fat you consume while traveling. Choose at least one vegetarian meal during your flight. Eat low fat dairy like yogurt. Instead of eating chips, ask for unsalted nuts.
Practice portion control. It’s okay to say no to food served if you’re not hungry or you can eat some of the food and keep the less perishable ones for later. You don’t need to eat everything in one sitting.
I remembered my mom getting sick while we were on an 18-hour flight. She ate the fruits served even though it tasted over ripe. I couldn’t do anything but pray for her to feel better.
Due to food preparation, transit time, temperature and storage, airline food sometimes become unsafe to eat due to microbial growth. To avoid food poisoning and stomach upset, take time to smell your food and take a small bite to taste if it’s acceptable. When in doubt, don’t eat! Ask for a replacement.
Wash or sanitize your hands before handling your food. Make sure that your food is served with the right temperature: Hot items should be hot and cold items should be cold. Non-perishable food can be served at room temperature.
ANTI-JET LAG PLAN
Does your skin feel dry and do you get cracked lips when traveling? Low humidity, pressurized cabin and air travel can cause body fluids to evaporate through the skin. It leads to dehydration. Dehydration causes fatigue and promotes jet lag.
Drink 1 cup (8 ounces) of water or 100% fruit juice before your flight. Drink 1 cup (8 ounces) of water for each hour throughout the duration of the flight whether or not you’re thirsty. Drink more fluids even after arriving at your destination.
Avoid or limit alcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea and soda to 1 to 2 servings for the entire flight. Caffeine promotes sleeplessness, overstimulation and anxiety.
Remember to be well-nourished, ensure food safety and be well hydrated on your next travel. Bon Voyage!
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