Raise your hand if you’re getting on a plane this week.
My hand is up and I’m sure a lot of you out there have yours raised as well. Going home (or in my case, to my husband’s home) for the holidays is fun and exciting, but air travel can be full of stressors. With all of that on your mind, your meals might be the last thing you think about. However, a little pre-planning can make your time flying both healthy and stress free (at least when it comes to the food).
Here are some of my tips:
Face the Facts
There’s only one way to guarantee what you’ll have to eat during your flight—pack it yourself. It may seem overwhelming to add another thing to the packing list, but I find that having my food ready to go and in my carry-on is calming. No worrying if you’re going to have time to stop between connections. No worrying about what’s available near your gate. Pack it yourself and you are set.
Know the Rules
Make sure to check security regulations before heading to the airport. The most important thing to know is that yes, you can take food past security. Many people think food will be confiscated in the security line, but just as long as it’s solid food, I’ve never had a problem. Avoid packing yogurts, honey, or milk or anything else that’s gelatinous or liquid. Also, make sure to bring an empty water bottle to fill up past security. Traveling is very dehydrating and having your own water bottle is handy and economical.
Keep it Cold
Another thing you need to leave behind? Your ice packs. The gel inside of them isn’t allowed past security. To keep your food cold, freeze some seedless grapes the night before your flight. In a baggy, they can act like an edible ice pack. Plus, frozen grapes are an awesome healthy, cold snack.
If you have an early morning flight, skip past the long line at the terminal coffee shop and create breakfast on the plane. In your carry-on, pack a low or no sugar instant oatmeal packet and a plastic spoon. When it’s time for drink service, just ask for a half cup full of hot water and mix in your packet. If you need to up the filling power, grab a handful of trail mix from your packed snacks and toss it on top. Have an orange for an extra boost of Vitamin C…no one wants to be sick over the holidays!
Plan for You
Do you have a nervous stomach when you fly? Pack some ginger or peppermint candies. Are you always cold on planes? Pack your favorite tea bag to use during drink service. Do you like to eat to pass time (I do!)? Pack low-calorie snacks like carrots or celery sticks that you can nibble on throughout the flight. No matter what your plan of attack is for airport eating, remember you and your family’s personal quirks, and plan accordingly.
Find the Good Options
If you decide not to pack your own food, make sure to scope out the good options in the airport. In recent years, there has been a major uptick in healthy choices at the terminal. I even found a local and organic restaurant in an airport this summer! Just because the Burger King is the closest to your gate, doesn’t mean you have to eat a Whopper. Plus, if you avoid the moving sidewalks, you get some exercise by searching for the best options. Win, win!