Pro Tips for Staying Healthy While Flying

By Nathalie Lati, RD Jan 03, 2019 01:12 PM

I love to travel, but I hate airplanes. Not because I have a fear of flying, but because I find them to be so boring. You’re sitting in a seat for however many hours and you’ve already listened to more music and watched more TV than you have for the past month. It seems that the only activity you have left is to eat. So you start munching on whatever snacks you bought at the Hudson News stand near your gate. Sound familiar?

If you said no, congratulations you are one step ahead and can probably disregard the rest of this article. For the rest of us, a little bit of preparation can help us avoid mindlessly eating yet another bag of complimentary airline pretzels.

Meal Prep

Once again we hear this term, but it's tried and true. If you bring your own meal on the flight, eat a balanced meal before takeoff or both depending on the length of your flight, you will have less of an urge to snack on above-mentioned pretzels. You do not need to actually cook because preparing for a vacation already takes a lot of preparation. I like to pick up a big salad with protein (tofu, chicken, tuna, etc.) and healthy fat (avocado, obviously) as these will keep you full.

Snack Prep

Yes, it is in its own separate category because it is that important. Snacks are the key player on any flight, regardless of the distance. A three-hour flight might not require you to bring a meal, but to go three hours on a plane plus whatever time you spent at the airport without eating anything may actually make you more likely to overeat at your next meal. Make sure your snacks contain protein and fiber (whole grains).

Snack Ideas:

  • Almond butter packets
  • GG Crackers
  • Nuts
  • Cut up veggies (Cucumbers, celery sticks, peppers) and Hummus cups
  • RX bar
  • Fruit
  • Kind Bars
  • Yogurt (this is actually counted as a liquid, so make sure its less than 3.4 oz or you'll have to throw it out).

The good thing is you are going to be able to find these at the airport, but I find it is easier to pack these beforehand so you don't get tempted to buy those M&Ms at the checkout counter.

Hydration

Do this with water, please. Save the alcohol for when you actually get to your destination; there is no need to waste calories on in-flight cocktails. Besides for the fact that flying really dehydrates you, why make it worse by adding alcohol? Pro Tip: bring your own tea bags and ask for hot water on the plane. 

Activities

If you are busy doing something, you're less likely to be eating out of boredom. Movies, music, and TV shows can all be pre-downloaded onto your smart devices for you to watch during your flight. A coloring book is actually really relaxing and a great way to pass time, don’t judge me until you've tried it. Books and magazines will keep your mind occupied so you won’t think about food as well.

All in all, if you follow these tips your travel experience will not only be more enjoyable, but it will be so much more satisfying for your health!

Nathalie Lati recently graduated from Montclair University with a degree in nutrition and food science. She is dedicated to helping people understand healthy living is not about dieting, it is about balance.