During the last decade of my life, I have had more than my fair share of airplane travel. First, a trans-Atlantic long distance relationship and then living abroad in two countries meant frequent trips back home to visit family and friends. After the first few years, it became apparent that we had to change the way we viewed eating while traveling because it seemed that a trip always threw us off our healthy eating game. What that means has evolved throughout the years, but now I would define it as plant based, high raw and nutrient dense food eaten with the goal if feeling great physically, emotional and spiritually. So, depending on your personal health goals, feel free to take what works for you and leave the rest!
- Greens and Superfood Powders
Can you find a fresh squeezed orange juice, even bottled? Or water? Add a few spoons of a green super food powder and you are good to go! You can rest easy knowing that you are well nourished and getting your greens in. For green powder blends, we like our own Sacred Strawberry Pura Vida, as well as Healthforce Nutritionals’ Vitamineral Green and Greener Grasses. For single powders, we like to have something deep green, like Spirulina, chlorella, barleygrass or wheatgrass juice powder as well as something super high in Vitamin C, antioxidant and high vibrational! Good options are Camu-Camu, rosehips (rosa mosqueta), acai berries or acerola cherries. Choose ones that you like the flavor of, that feel good in your body and that you resonate with.
Bonus points for adding a few tablespoons chia seeds to your liquid and powders mix. This makes it filling and gives you sustainable energy, as well as necessary essential fatty acids and fiber. This can act as a meal in a pinch.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
This really can’t be stated enough. Planes literally suck the moisture from your body and the high stress environment of airports can make it easy to neglect this, especially if you are afraid of needing to pee. Drink more than you think is necessary, and then drink some more. Your body will thank you once you get to your destination. I can’t claim that if will prevent jet lag, but you will be in much better spirits and have a fighting chance of avoiding it.
-Drink a BIG green smoothie before you go through security.
This will set you up so that you don’t need to worry about food this side and depending on the length of your flight, on the plane as well. They won’t let you take it through security, so drink up! Make it delicious and fill it with some good fats so that it keeps you fuller for longer. Excellent choices would be things like coconut butter, soaked nuts or nut butters, hemp seeds, avocado etc.
Don’t skimp on this. It is way better to bring too much than not enough. We like to bring a trail mix of some sort (sprouted nuts and seeds, goji berries, dried pineapple , cacao nibs etc.), single serve packs of nut butters, raw chocolate for sweet cravings, raw dehydrated crackers and even cut up fresh vegetables. Cucumber is wonderful for airplane travel because it is so hydrating! Whole fruits like apples, oranges and bananas are easy to travel with. Find a plastic knife at one of the airport cafés, cut up your apple or banana, drizzle it with nut butter and sprinkle on a bit of your superfood powder that you brought. This makes it easy to use what you bring!
Also, most Sacred Strawberry snacks make excellent travel food! Sprouted crackers, kale chips and Love Balls all make excellent options for nutritious and delicious healthy snacks!
- Don’t be afraid to go without.
I understand that this one might bring up all sorts of emotions, and it may not be right for you at this time. The truth is though that being in a plane brings our digestive system to a halt. Add to that the stress of traveling, and it can add up to digestive distress. It can mean the perfect opportunity to do a little mini cleanse/fast. Make sure you stay well hydrated and that you have loads of positive entertainment- inspirational books, music you love to hear, podcasts of speakers you love to hear ( especially about health and wellness), a journal to jot down anything you want, or the feelings that come up for you. Relax and allow the freedom that comes from not stressing about what to eat wash over you.
-Choose airport food wisely.
I get excited when I see a Jamba Juice, but I know now that their smoothies are NOT fresh fruit and are full of sugary things that don’t make me feel good. Instead, I go for a huge fresh squeezed orange juice and a double shot of wheatgrass juice.
Also, sometimes you can find a sushi restaurant that has avocado rolls with brown rice or seaweed salad. That really is about the only thing that we as a family feel comfortable consuming, due to a variety of factors. We have gotten sick from eating salads in airports before, and have also spent ridiculous sums of money on food that we would never ever considered eating outside that environment. It’s just not worth it!
-Plan your next meal well.
If you have a connecting flight and are going to have to eat in an airport that night, pack a light meal with you and make sure that you eat it! Research what restaurants are in your terminal so that you can then look online and find out what they offer before you arrive tired, hungry and DONE! This is a recipe for heading straight to whatever your trigger foods are. In other words, fail to plan and plan to fail! If you have a short flight, find out what healthy restaurants are near where you are headed to. I never, ever go anywhere without first checking out happycow.net. That way, I can look and see what health food stores, vegetarian restaurants and markets are in our area and where I would like to plan to go visit. Tourism for me has always included vegan and raw food restaurants, health food stores and organic markets. It is one of my favorite ways to get to know a new city! Sometimes, just knowing what incredible healthful food awaits you can prevent spur of the moment less than optimal food choices in an airport.
-Stay positive and do the best with what you have!
It’s not about perfection, it’s about having fun and feeling great. If you find yourself marooned and starving and walk past a veggie pizza and the idea of walking across two more terminals to find somewhere that may or may not offer salad is too much for you, then STOP! The stress and negativity that beating yourself up brings is far worse than any food choice! Whatever you eat, eat with enjoyment, gratitude and love.
I sincerely hope that something in here helps you on your health journey. Bon voyage!