Healthy Eating

Your Practical Healthy Eating Survival Guide For Air Travel

Land feeling ready to tackle the holiday madness without that post-flight bloat.

By: Rebecca Jacobs

We are officially into the busiest and craziest travel time of the year. Between long drives to long flights, sometimes there’s simply no getting around the holiday travel madness. And, with travel often comes less than optimal food choices. But, with some simple and practical hacks, you can make healthy eating while flying possible. 

By the time you arrive at your final destination, you will feel ten times better than if you loaded up on cocktails and salty airline peanuts. 

Here’s your must-have practical, healthy eating while flying guide that will be a gamechanger for your holiday travels. 

10 Practical Tips For Healthy Eating While Flying

#1 Fuel up Before Getting to the Airport 

The number one tip to healthy eating while flying is to get a solid, healthy meal in before you head to the airport. Focus on enjoying something balanced in like a large salad with a grilled chicken breast, a side of quinoa, and some fresh fruit. The more nourished your body is before you board the plane, the less likely you’ll be to grab something unhealthy at the airport. 

#2 Go Heavy on Those on the go Protein Bars 

If you have a long flight, then you’ll want to pack some snacks. This is where the convenience of protein bars really comes in. While not all protein bars are created equal, there are some pretty darn good options these days. So, pack a handful of Lara bars or GoMacro bars for a healthy snack option to refuel while in the air. 

#3 Get Smart About Airport Snacks 

While we’re talking about snacks, we need to get serious about how we handle airport snacks. Not only are they seriously overpriced, but they tend to be full of sugar and salt. If you can pack your own, that’s ideal. If not, then opt for things like raw nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, and full-fat unsweetened Greek yogurt. 

#4 Steer Clear of Caffeine & Sugary Bevvys

Whether you are itching for another cup of coffee to help get you through your holiday travel or are craving that tempting sugar-loaded soda that’s offered when the beverage cart comes around, just say no. Not only will too much caffeine leaves you feeling wired, followed by some serious caffeine crash fatigue,  but it can be especially problematic if you add tons of cream and sugar to your cup of joe. 

And, those sodas—these are never a good idea, traveling or not. They are loaded with sugar, and even the diet options are packed full of inflammatory artificial sweeteners. 

The bottom line—stick to water to keep you hydrated, you will feel much better when you land  

#5 Be a Tea Bag Lady 

Even if you don’t typically drink tea, be that lady that packs her own tea bags, and opt for things like chamomile and ginger tea. Not only will these herbal tea varieties help keep you hydrated, leading to a lower chance of confusing thirst signals with hunger, they can also help calm an upset traveling tummy. 

Win, win! 

So, when the beverage cart comes around, just ask for a cup and some hot water. Just like that, you can steep your own tea, even while traveling. 

#6 Download Your Fav Podcasts & Bring a Good Book

Sometimes, boredom gets the best of us, making it more likely that we will mindlessly snack. To stick to your healthy eating while flying goals, listen to a few of your fav podcasts and cross a book off of your must-read list during your flight. 

#7 Pass on the Salt 

Another huge hack when it comes to healthy eating while flying all has to do with salt. The salty bag of chips or salted peanuts may sound like a convenient snack option but may cause a tailspin of poor food choices. Plus, too much salt can lead to that puffy, bloated, uncomfortable feeling that some of us just naturally get from flying. Add too much salt, and you’re in for a fluid-retention mess. 

And, let’s not forget about the fact that some cocktails are also loaded with added salt (we’re looking at you Bloody Mary’s), so just be mindful of the foods you do choose to snack on and keep salt in mind. 

Stick to things like raw nuts and seeds, fresh fruit, and steamed veggies, if you are offered an in-flight meal. 

#8 Opt for High Protein Meals 

Speaking of in-flight meals, if your journey is a long one, you may have the option to select a meal. Opt for higher protein options to help keep you full longer. This is key to healthy eating while flying, as the more you can optimize each meal, the more full you’ll be, which means less snacking. 

Choose meals that include things like a chicken breast, eggs, full-fat unsweetened yogurt, or nuts and seeds as your high protein options. 

#9 Pack That Reusable Water Bottle 

Another really important tip here is to make sure you pack your reusable water bottle. While you can’t pack filled water bottles, an empty reusable one that you can fill up during and after the flight will help keep you hydrated. 

This is super important because often times, we reach for food when we are thirsty thinking we’re hungry when really we just need some good old H2O. 

Oh, and it’ll also save you about five bucks since airport water bottles are crazy expensive. 

#10 Refuel When You Land 

Lastly, don’t forget to refuel when you land. If you went the whole flight without a meal, you’re going to be hungry. If your flight has wifi, try to see if your arrival airport has any healthy spots to grab a quick bite, or if you can pick something up on the way to your final destination. 

Having a gameplan for what you’ll eat when you land is going to be key to helping you eat healthy while flying and even after you land. The last thing you want to do is to be famished and run to the nearest and most convenient fast food spot. 

Land Feeling Your Best 

When you land, you want to feel ready to take on the business of the holiday season, plus enjoy whatever you have in store. So, use these healthy eating while flying hacks to make your flight a little more enjoyable, and your trip a little healthier. You’ll be ready to dive right into your holiday activities without all that added sugar and salt bloat.