Whether you are flying to the other side of the globe on a holiday, or just a few hours away for a work trip, it is important that you remember to eat properly and healthily during your travels.
Travelling to the airport, going through security and making sure you head to the right gate can be daunting experiences that demand energy. While some of us might rely on the airline’s free meals, with a recent survey by travel search platform HolidayPirates finding that almost 44% of Brits said they would change airlines if free food wasn’t offered, others would prefer to grab food at the airport.
If you are part of the 72% surveyed who said they would rather get food at the airport, then you should make sure that the food you eat is both delicious and healthy:
Fruit: Eat a lot of vitamins and fibres when travelling. Airports and airplanes are full of germs so stock up on vitamin C with oranges. Watermelon is another good option as it is rich in antioxidants, and it is also full of water. Three to four slices on the day will help you to stay hydrated during the flight. However, don’t overeat fruit as the sugars may increase your overall blood sugar levels.
Dark berries: Opt for the super berries such as blueberries or blackberries, which are full of antioxidants. Research has found that blackcurrants can contain up to eight times the health-boosting antioxidant level of blueberries.
Yogurt: Avoid large portions and fatty foods before or during the flight. Natural yogurt with wholegrain cereals is a good option as it will keep you fuller for longer and at the same time keep the blood sugars balanced. A good alternative that contains more protein is chia pudding and fortunately, some fast food chains started selling this delicious option.
Lean protein and wholemeal bread
Skinless chicken and salmon are a great source of lean protein. If you are getting a sandwich try to find sourdough orrye bread, as they are rich in minerals and good at levelling out blood sugar levels. Avoid fatty extras such as mayonnaise and cheese.
Eggs are not just great sources of protein, eggs are also high in minerals, fats and vitamins that are great for improving the skin’s elasticity. The skin often gets very dry when you are on the flight, and needs an extra boost. Medical News Today has suggested that lutein, found in the yolk of eggs can help improve the hydration and elasticity of skin. This is also one of my favourite options, as you can just keep a cooked egg in a container without needing to refrigerate it. Eggs also contain all the nutrients that you need, keeping you fuller for longer.
Throughout your travel it is vital you eat often but keep to small portions. Healthy salads are good options for dinner. Leafy greens are high in vitamin A and help to protect your skin, limit dryness and irritation of your skin. Try to get as much dark green salad as possible as a foundation to your salad. Spinach, mache or arugula contain a lot of vitamins and minerals. Try to avoid lettuce if it is iceberg lettuce, as it’s a huge environment villain. Look for salads that contain avocados. They are packed with high amounts of fibre, magnesium, and also possess biotin and Omega fatty acids, which help to prevent dry skin and brittle hair and nails. And it is important to add a good source of protein such as chicken, egg, tuna or fish to your dinner. Foods rich in protein can help minimize the effects of sugary snacks you might have after the meal.
If you are going for a salad, then ask for the salad dressing on the side, or opt for vinaigrette rather than a creamy dressing. Also avoid any spicy dressings or side dishes that can contribute to discomfort and bloating.
Snacks & Drinks
De-caffeinated drinks: Staying hydrated when you’re in the air is important. Chose caffeine-free drinks such as herbal teas and water. Rooibos tea is a good alternative, as it is a caffeine-free but still contains good antioxidants that fight free radicals and inflammations. If you feel like something sweeter, drink coconut water or maple water, which are better alternatives to flavored water. They boast vitamins, electrolytes and minerals and low in sugar, which makes the drinks a good alternative to soft drinks.
Healthy nuts: As a healthy snack, it is great to have a handful of nuts such as almonds, walnuts and pistachios. They can aid in improving heart health by reducing cholesterol levels, increasing brain health thanks to the vitamin E, and reducing stress as healthy nuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, which helps to lower stress levels. But as they are high in fat, although it is ‘good fat’ I recommend eating around a handful of nuts per day and I would avoid any nuts that are coated as they can be high in salt.
Edemame beans: Instead of crisps get edemame beans. With low levels of sodium, it is also a good source of dietary fibre, protein, iron, magnesium, as well as Vitamin K and magnesium.
Frida Harju is the in-house nutritionist at health app Lifesum.