It’s no secret that airport food is lacking in the nutrition department. While some airports are starting to add more healthy restaurant options, many of us have probably had the dilemma of searching for any sort of semi-nutritious meal before a big travel day only to end up with a processed something to hold us over until we get to our destination. So, what if you are trying to eat healthy while traveling? What sorts of foods can you make ahead of time and eat before you board or while on the plane? Does flying mess with our digestive system and can it cause bloating? Read on for our tips.
There are a few things you may want to aim for when preparing a meal for a travel day. You want the meal to be satisfying. When we start to get hungry is when we might reach for a quick burst of energy like candy or chips, which are already accessible in the airport. You also want to make sure the meal doesn’t have to be eaten right away so that you can prepare it at home and eat it once you’re settled in your terminal or plane. Finally, you may want to avoid meals that are noisy or smelly as a courtesy to your fellow travelers.
Salads can pack in a lot of nutritious, filling ingredients. However, if you can’t eat your salad right away, it may get soggy and wilted which will likely leave you feeling unsatisfied. I like to make a grain salad since it can be dressed before leaving the house and still holds up so nicely. Start with your base, grain of choice. I like farro. Add diced cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, seeds, nuts, chickpeas, white beans, herbs. You can get creative and use up whatever fresh produce you have in your fridge. For the dressing, a simple mustard vinegar dressing will pair nicely with the grain. Simply combine equal parts stone ground mustard, white wine vinegar, and EVOO and season with salt and pepper.
Sandwich or Wrap
Sandwiches or wraps can be made ahead of time and will last until you’re ready to eat. Try to avoid adding tomato slices to your sandwich as tomato has high water content and can cause it to get soggy. Start with your bread or wrap of choice. I love sourdough or Ezekiel bread. You can use whatever spreads or sauces you like but my current favorite combo is spreading pesto on one slice and avocado-oil mayo on the other. Add your meat of choice, romaine lettuce, avocado slices, and whatever other sandwich ingredients you love. Wrap in parchment paper or foil and enjoy when you’re settled at the airport.
Mezze plates are a delicious way to get a high-protein, satisfying meal. Choose three dips like hummus, baba ganoush, tzatziki, whipped feta, pesto, etc. You can either make these ahead of time or buy them pre-made for easy preparation. Enjoy the dips with pita bread slices, raw carrots, celery, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, nuts. This meal is full of plant-based protein, fiber, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates to keep you full and satisfied. This can all be prepped ahead of time and will last until you’re ready to eat.
Nuts or trail mix
Fresh fruit salad
Sliced apples and almond butter
Dates with almond butter
Bloating and Digestion While Flying
You may have noticed that when you fly, you get bloated or gassy. This is a common phenomenon that many people experience. As the plane climbs in altitude and the air pressure changes, your body is working to adjust to that change. Once the plane reaches a cruising altitude, you may not notice the bloating, however, when you begin to descend your body may begin feeling bloated and gassy as it readjusts to the new air pressure and releases excess gas in your intestines. While you may not be able to completely eliminate the bloating and gas, some things that you can do to help minimize the effects are to avoid eating anything that normally causes you bloating or gas. Some common foods that do this are broccoli and cauliflower. You should also avoid carbonated beverages and chewing gum. Stay hydrated and try to get some steps in before your flight. You may find that not eating at all before or during your flight helps prevent bloating and gas. If that’s the case, pack a travel-friendly meal and enjoy it when you’re back on the ground and your stomach has settled.