With the holiday season upon us and vaccination rates climbing, it’s no secret more people are flying more lately. November 19th, Transportation Security Administration screened nearly 2.3 million people at airport security checkpoints ― the highest volume since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Of course, it’s important to be mindful of COVID-19 travel precautions, like wearing a face mask in the airport and on the plane, washing and sanitizing your hands, and keeping your distance from others when possible. However, flying is not always safe. tough on your stomach at times, so it’s helpful to be mindful of eating and drinking on air travel days.
The low humidity and dry air in the plane’s cabin tend to have a dehydrating effect on passengers, and the atmospheric pressure doesn’t exactly aid with digestion. There are still ways you can help to keep the situation under control. Here are some tips from experts to help you choose the right food for your flight and the timing of meals.
Where to Eat
“It’s wise to eat a meal at home ― of course, time permitting ― before a flight,” said Tracy Lockwood BeckermanRegistered dietitian, located in New York City.
She noted that you can do this in the following manner: steer clear of foods and drinksTerminals can contain foods that can be difficult to digest and further dehydrate you. Plus, you’ll be less likely to munch on the plane, Beckerman added. Who wants to take off their mask in front of strangers?
If you aren’t able to eat at home, try to have your pre-flight meal about an hour before your departure, advised Jonathan Valdez, owner of Genki NutritionThe media spokesperson New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
“This can allow your body some time to digest your food and use the restroom accordingly before boarding,” he said.
Meanwhile, Vanessa Rissetto, a registered dietitian in New Jersey and co-founder of Culina Health, emphasized paying attention to your body’s natural rhythm and sticking to routines if possible.
“I would eat at the normal cadence I usually eat ― being mindful at how my G.I. tract reacts prior to flying,” she said.
What to Eat
Preparation is key when it comes to meals on board, particularly if there are any restrictions or allergies.
“People should consider their own personal eating and snacking habits before flying,” Beckerman said. “If you know you love eating on a plane, bring a snack along that you enjoy, like fresh fruit and peanut butter or hummus and whole grain crackers.”
Other portable snacks that can be great for travel include celery and carrots (which you could also dip in the aforementioned peanut butter or hummus) and packets of nuts like almonds ― ideally, without extra salt.
Beckerman advises that you pack a healthy, balanced, and nutritious meal. It should contain carbohydrates, proteins, and fats so you are not tempted to eat too much onboard.
“The duration of your flight, foods offered on your flight, motion sickness (if that’s an issue), and your personal dietary considerations should be a part of planning your flight day meal,” Valdez noted. “Some foods to consider eating are fruits such as an orange or banana, lean protein such as chicken or fish, yogurt, smoothie, oats, crackers, or a piece of ginger candy or tea to alleviate any nausea or motion sickness.”
To get back to the whole topic of dehydration: avoid salt and diuretic drinks like alcohol and coffee.
“Drink plenty of water before your flight and during your flight to combat any water loss and assist in digestion,” Valdez said.
Seltzer is a good choice, but you might not want to drink it due to its carbonation and potential for gas. However, a coconut water bottle from an airport can still be refreshing and replenishing.
Of course, there’s no one correct way to approach flight-day food, so if you’re concerned, try to make informed, smart choices that feel satisfying to you. Have a safe flight!