Airlines aren't exactly known for their culinary delights. They are full of sodium, tasteless and often expensive. Not to mention preparation and food handling can be quite questionable.
By bringing your own snacks, you can eat well, help prevent jet lag and build up your immunity.
Tips For Eating & Drinking on Long Flights
1. Drink (And Eat) Plenty of Water!
Water is possibly the best solution to prevent jet lag. Drink lots of water and eat water rich fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, pineapples, oranges, cucumber, radishes and spinach.
2. Eat meals or snacks according to the time zone you're going to. Meals are a natural synchronizer to our internal body clocks. Avoid meals being passed out at midnight in your destination location, and instead eat your snacks or meals at 8pm and again at 6am.
3. Don't Overeat. It's difficult to digest, especially since you're immobile on a plane. May lead to a restless night.
4. Eat protein rich meals and snacks to keep you full without overeating.
5. Opt for lighter meals with a good balance of protein, complex carbohydrates and plant based foods.
6. Avoid consuming gas producing products such as fizzy drinks, onion, garlic, potatoes, broccoli, and beans.
7. Eat foods high in potassium, calcium and magnesium helping to lower blood pressure. Such as dairy, dark chocolate, olive oil, pistachios, beets, pomegranate, fatty fish and whole wheat. Blood pressure is regulated by our circadian rhythm, the internal body clock that causes jet lag.
8. Avoid processed foods, fried foods, sugary items and white bread. These make you feel tired and unsatisfied.
Ideas for Food Prep on Long Flights
Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Carrots and Ground Turkey Bolognese
Complex carbs and whole grains give your body the fiber, plant-based protein and vitamins they need on long flights to prevent jet lag. Opting for lean protein like ground turkey instead of red meat is better for your digestion, especially when stuck in an airplane seat for 12 hours. Baby carrots are water rich and a good source of beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin K, potassium and antioxidants. I love cold/room temperature day old spaghetti so this is a great option for me!
To prepare: Chop a handful of baby carrots. Prepare spaghetti and ground turkey separately per usual, limiting salt. Add baby carrots to ground turkey to cook. Mix in low sodium marinara sauce and cooked spaghetti. Sprinkle parmesan on top for flavor, protein, calcium, and vitamin A.
Radish and Orange Spinach Salad with Cinnamon Vinaigrette
Radishes, oranges and spinach are all water rich to keep you hydrated. Radishes are full of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. Oranges have 93% of your daily vitamin C, boosting your immunity. Spinach is full of zinc, protein, fiber, vitamins A,C, E and K, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium.
To prepare: Wash and chop one bunch of radishes into thin slices. Peel 3 oranges and chop slices in half. Combine radishes and oranges. Keep spinach separate. Combine 1/3 cup olive oil, juice of half a lemon, 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes if desired for vinaigrette. Optional: almond slivers or pistachios.
Celery & Grape Chicken Salad with Whole Wheat Crackers
Chicken protein. Greek yogurt is high in natural probiotics to help aid digestion, and is packed with protein and calcium. Add grapes, celery,
Low Fat Cheese and Strawberries, Peaches or Apples
Cheese is high in protein, calcium, peptides and magnesium which support digestion and low blood pressure. Strawberries, peaches and apples are water rich, keeping you hydrated.
Home-Made Trail Mix
Combine your favorite nuts, seeds and dried fruit for a protein packed and healthy fats snack. Opt for nuts and seeds high in magnesium and potassium like pistachios, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and cashews. Choose fruit that is unsweetened. Add in fun stuff like dark chocolate, figs, bananas, cherries, goji berries, raisins, popcorn, pineapples, mangos, papayas, hemp seeds, blueberries and yogurt-covered raisins.
Roasted Chickpeas with Turmeric or Cayenne
Chickpeas are high in protein, keeping you full. Turmeric contains a wide range of antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also loaded with protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc.
To prepare: Rinse, drain and pat dry chickpeas. Place chickpeas on large baking sheet. Mist chickpeas lightly with oil, and sprinkle with spice(s). Toss to cover chickpeas. Place pan in cold oven, and heat to 425 degrees. Roast for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Turn off oven and leave chickpeas in the oven for at lease one hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely before transferring into a storage container.
Beets, Goat Cheese and Pistachios
Beets are high in B vitamins, iron, manganese, magnesium and potassium, improving blood pressure and aids digestion. Goat cheese is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium, and easier to digest than cow's cheese. Pistachios are a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, and are high in dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C and much more.
To prepare: Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and scrub, then lightly oil beets. Roast for 45-60 minutes until cooked all the way through. Remove from oven, let cool 15-30 minutes. Peel and slice into desired sizes. Combine beets with goat cheese and refrigerate until departure. Bring raw or roasted unsalted pistachios separately to combine with beets and goat cheese on the plane.
Cucumber and Tomato Salad
Cucumbers and tomatoes water rich, keeping you hydrated on long flights. Add a tiny dash of olive oil to support low blood pressure and fresh lime juice to support your immunity.
Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds and Pomegranate Seeds
Almonds are full of protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamin E, magnesium, antioxidants, and help regulate blood pressure. Dark Chocolate has antioxidants and assists lowering blood pressure, and has significantly less sugar than milk chocolate. Pomegranate seeds are high in vitamin C to support immunity, fiber, and can lower blood pressure.
Kale Chips with Turmeric or Cayenne
Kale is rich in flavonoids, lowers cholesterol, high in Vitamins K, A and C, and is anti-inflammatory.
To prepare: Preheat oven to Wash and dry kale thouroughly. De-stem kale leaves. Cut kale into large "chip" sizes. Mist lightly with olive oil and spice(s).
Celery and Nut Butter or Hummus
Celery is water rich and high in potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc. Nut butter or hummus will provide you with protein and healthy fats to sustain you during a long flight.
Oatmeal with fruit and cinnamon
Complex carbs provide good fiber, plant-based protein and magnesium essential for long flights. Add a couple dashes of cinnamon for it's anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and digestive benefits! Add fruit such as berries or apples, and even a dash of maple syrup if you're wanting something a bit sweet.
Hard Boiled Eggs with Watermelon, Grapefruit and Orange Salad
Hard boil 1-2 eggs per person and prepare a fruit salad of watermelon, grapefruit and oranges. The fruit is water-rich to help hydrate you and is packed with vitamin C. Try to avoid salt on the eggs. For extra benefits add a few dashes of cinnamon to the fruit salad.
Almond Butter and Banana on Whole Wheat Bread
Complex carbs will keep your stomach satisfied. Plus almonds are full of protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamin E, and magnesium. Choose an almond butter with no added salt or other ingredients. Slice up a banana, high in potassium and magnesium, and you've got a filling breakfast on your fight.
Greek Yogurt and Pineapples with Cinnamon
Greek yogurt is high in natural probiotics to help aid digestion, and is packed with protein and calcium. Pineapples are water rich keeping you hydrated. Or substitute pineapples for watermelon, strawberries, peaches or cantaloupe. Add a couple dashes of cinnamon for it's anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and digestive benefits!