I fly alot. And there are not many things worse than being on a plane and feeling bloated and full because I ate something I shouldn’t have. So as much as I am a proponent for not sweating the small stuff when it comes to eating something less than nutritious ( aka “bad”),I also am a big believer in knowing what foods make you feel good, and which ones don’t.
Figuring out what to eat while on the road can go one of a few ways. One, you’re excited to eat mediocre airport food, wilted salads, and you love the free drinks and pretzlespeanutsoracookie on the plane. Two, you’re not excited to eat the mediocre, wilty airport salads or to eat the free plane crap. I typically fall under number two, but I do enjoy a bag of Popcorners every now and then : )
For me, it’s become a habit to plan my food on travel days, or else I will end up eating something that will make me feel like garbage. And when I feel like garbage I am cranky, antsy and impatient.
RAF (Resting Airport Face) June 2016 in Baltimore – after missing my connection. I took a picture of my RAF and it made me laugh so hard at myself. I’m laughing now a year and a half later : )
Here are some of my favorite, packable, delicious travel foods ideas that beat almost every airport food in the nutrition and taste categories:
- A salad that includes Eggs, greens, veggies diced sweet potatoes (with Kerrygold grass fed butter, obvi), sauerkraut, and maybe a piece of meat/sausage/bacon.
- Snack Bars: I’m particular here. I usually make my own lil chocolate peppermint balls. These are the same ones that I normally eat pre workout, but if I’m flying in the am I like to have these as a pick me up. Click here for the recipe. Otherwise RX bars are a decent replacement if you aren’t into making your own.
- Beef Jerky: Epic Bars – super easy packable protein.
- Plantain Chips: on very rare occasions I get a little queasy on the plane. Having something salty to crunch on seems to help. Oh who am I kidding, I freakin love plantain chips and that’s why I pack them.
- Trail mix: I put macadamia nuts, sprouted pumpkin seeds and a few mini @enjoylife dark chocolate chips in a baggy. I eat this with a spoon (<- germaphobe, but getting WAY better about it)
- WATER – I buy the biggest water bottle available before I get on the plane. I don’t care if i have to go to the bathroom, planes are waaaaay dehydrating. So, I chug.
By the way, do you know what Jet Bloat is? It’s when you fly, and something with the pressure causes your stomach to bloat up to size 5-months-pregnant and you can feel it from deep in your gut all the way up to your freakin sinuses (<-I may be exaggerating here…but it sucks none the less). Oh and it doesn’t go away when you land. It hangs around for a few days and all you wish you could do is fart out all that air. Seriously guys, it is THE worst.
So, I recently figured out that eating WHILE in flight seems to exacerbate the bloat. On my last work trip I decided to do a little experiment. I ate a meal just before getting on the plane and only drank water during the 4 hour flight home (about 33 ounces) and you know what? The jet bloat was very minimal in comparison. Consider fasting while in flight to avoid the Jet Bloat of doom.
When I land, if the trip is going to be an overnighter, then I’ll google the nearest Whole Foods and make that my first stop before getting to the hotel. There I’ll pick up dinner from the salad bar and sometimes something for breakfast – unless of course there are good restaurant options nearby. And I always pick up enough water for the length of my trip. A gallon or two depending on how long my stay will be. There is nothing worse than getting back to your hotel room after a long day and not having any water!
Typical post flight meal from Whole Foods, veggies and protein and some form of healthy fat like an avocado, olive oil or nuts
I used to dread flying because of the exposure to alllll the germs. Like all of them. Every single time I fly, there are always people coughing (not covering their mouths), sneezing (into the open air), blowing their noses, and there’s always some dumbass eating a sandwich and licking his fingers (<— licking your fingers on an airplane is the worst idea EVER, whyyyyyyyy, is the mayo really that good?)
The other thing that always blows my mind is the amount of soda, juice and tomato juice drinkers I sit next to. I’m floored by the drink choices. Mind blown. Poof. The most surprising are the tomato juice peeps. If this is you, please tell me, is it just a plane thing, like, do people look forward to having that tomato juice because they never have it any other time? Or do these people truly drink tomato juice as part of their normal daily lives, and so of course they order tomato juice on a plane? WEIRD! Very weird. So freakin weird. Am I missing something? Maybe it’s some sort of remedy for motion sickness? Or for jet bloat?? I mean why would anyone drink tomato juice, ever? I guess I would drink it if it’d prevent jet bloat…maybe.
But getting back to avoiding getting sick, I wash my hands often, I drink a boatload of water and I’ve learned not to fear the smelly plane bathrooms. I also take the stairs whenever possible and I avoid the moving sidewalks unless I’m in a rush. Like my accupuncturist Bill Crosby has always said, you gotta move your blood. While we can’t avoid every careless sneezer, we can strengthen our defenses by boosting immunity through hydration, nutrition, movement and good hygiene (but don’t go crazy with the antibacterial stuff…).
Traveling for work has been an incredible experience, and also a test in making good decisions when it comes to wellness. I’ve learned the importance of building in time for rest and recovery and of making food choices that will support that. Often when we travel we are tempted by delicious local foods, and by all means, we should enjoy them. YOLO right? But the key is to balance the indulgences with nutrient dense whole foods so our bodies get what they really need – so we can feel good, be energized, sleep well and bounce back with ease.