Business trips can take a toll on our ability to maintain a healthy diet. And the flight doesn’t help…especially if you take flights that are several hours long. If you aren’t flying first class on your business trip, chances are your healthy food options are slim. And, with airline cutbacks, if you are in first class or business class, your options may not be so great anyhow.
A little planning before your flight, however, can help you eat healthier while in flight.
- Pre-flight Research: Many airlines post their in-flight meal options online. Prior to your flight, visit the airline’s website and check out their options. If possible, use Fitday.com or nutritiondata.com to do a quick nutritional analysis to help you evaluate what might be the most nutritious choice. If you find something reasonable, be sure to stick with that option when requesting a meal in flight.
- Grab and Go: Over the last couple of years and with recent airline cutbacks, airports are providing travelers with options in the airport that can help you eat healthier. Moreover, they offer grab and go opportunities with some decent eats for the business traveler who is short on time. Go online and check what your departure airport and terminal have to expect. Leave yourself a few minutes extra time to purchase a meal and bring it on board.
- Homemade In-Flight: When you cook or make your own food, you are always better off. As a result, packing a meal at home and bringing it for the trip can help you eat healthier. Remember, however, that liquids (including yogurt or sauces) over 3 ounces are not to be brought through security due to recent security regulations, so only pack solid foods and buy any liquid type food (drinks, yogurts, sauces, etc.) after you pass through security.
- Pre-flight Meal: If you are fortunate enough to have a short flight, there might not be any meal option in flight. Eat a healthy meal before the flight so that you don’t feel hungry in the air or starving upon arrival.
- Pack Your Own Snacks: On most flights, you are offered some sort of snack with your drink. This can be anything from nuts to pretzels to cookies to some sort of mystery snack mix. Most of these snacks are far from filling or well balanced. Say “No” to airline snacks and eat healthier by bringing a healthy snack of your own. Nutrition bars can be a good choice if they are well balanced (Protein, Fat and Carbs in one). Personally, I’m a fan of Odwalla Nourishing Food Bar in Super Protein, Kind Bars and Lara Bars. They are made with healthy ingredients, are filling and are all-natural. If you prefer to veer away from nutrition bars, pack some un-salted nuts and a piece of whole fruit for the in flight portion of the business trip.
- Choose Wisely: Many airlines offer “snack boxes” for purchase on board. Unfortunately, most of them are not very healthy and tend to contain a lot of items that are high in fat and simple carbohydrates (sugars and bleached flour). Look for those that tend to be better balanced, and contain foods that are less processed.
- Select a Special Meal: Even if you don’t follow vegetarianism or other restrictive diets, there is no reason you can’t order them for your health. Those options to consider include vegetarian, vegan, low-fat/low-cholesterol and gluten-free meals. Diabetic and low-calorie meals tend to use a lot of sugar-free and artificially sweetened items, which are best to avoid.
How do you eat healthier in flight?