Do you worry about good nutrition or being hungry when traveling? Traveling for many hours to reach your destination can present food challenges, especially when it involves a grueling long-haul flight.
Although I love to eat and try new food when I travel, I often worry about indulging in too much junk. Or worse, feeling hungry because I hadn’t eaten all day.
I’m sharing useful food and drink tips and tricks that have worked for me.
They’ll keep you from overeating because you didn’t get a chance to eat a regular meal or were bored on the flight. These ideas will help make your in-flight experience a relaxing and satisfying one.
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Importance of Planning Ahead
Let’s face it, airplane food doesn’t always have the best reputation.
When you’re up in the air for hours on end, you might find yourself longing for something more satisfying than the standard fare. That’s where planning ahead becomes crucial.
Do a little research before your flight to check out the airline’s meal options.
Some airlines offer special meals for different dietary preferences or restrictions, so be sure to explore those possibilities.
Most U.S. domestic flights offer nothing more than a complimentary snack and drink, not a meal. With connections, you could spend a lot of time traveling without the option of more than a small snack.
So, packing your own snacks can be a game-changer.
Don’t be afraid to pack a light meal as well. A small sandwich is a great option to keep you from getting too hungry while traveling.
Not only will you have food that you know you’ll enjoy, but it can also help you save money and avoid feeling hangry during the journey.
Healthy and Nourishing Snack Ideas
When it comes to choosing snacks for your long flight, aim for options that are portable, nutrient-rich, and easy to eat.
Here are some ideas to keep you satisfied and energized:
- Trail mix with dried fruits, nuts, and dark chocolate chunks.
- Energy balls made with dates, nuts, and a hint of cinnamon or cocoa powder.
- Fresh fruit, such as apples, grapes, or a banana.
- Individual packs of whole-grain crackers or rice cakes.
- Hummus or guacamole with veggie sticks or mini pita bread.
- Cheese and crackers for a protein-packed snack.
- Roasted chickpeas with your favorite spices for a crunchy treat.
Helpful tip: Tuck your hummus or guac inside your liquids bag, so it won’t be confiscated by security.
Airplane air is drying, and it’s easy to become dehydrated when traveling if you do not drink enough. Sometimes thirst feels like hunger, which leads you to eat more than you normally would.
Opt for water, herbal tea, or coconut water to refresh yourself throughout the flight.
Of course, you’ll have to pick those up in an airport shop after you pass through security. Most airports now have refillable water stations. Bring your water bottle from home to save money.
Mindful Eating on the Plane
It’s easy to over or undereat when your routines are off. Your normal eating schedule may be different.
Eating on a plane can be challenging, especially with limited space and often less-than-ideal meal options. However, with a little mindfulness, you can still savor your meals and enjoy the experience.
Here are a few tips to make the most of your in-flight dining:
- Take your time: Slow down and savor each bite, focusing on the flavors and textures of your meal.
- Minimize distractions: Turn off the in-flight entertainment system during mealtime to fully enjoy your food.
- Bring utensils: Pack a lightweight set in your carry-on if you prefer using your own cutlery.
Remember, it’s not just about filling your stomach—it’s about embracing the pleasure of eating, even at 30,000 feet.
Alcohol and Caffeine Consumption
While a glass of wine or a cup of coffee might seem appealing during a long flight, excessive alcohol and caffeine intake can lead to dehydration and disrupt your sleep schedule.
It can also make you feel hungrier or less than usual and throw off your normal “hunger signals.”
Instead, consider these alternatives:
- Herbal teas: Choose calming varieties like chamomile or mint to relax your mind and body.
- Fruit-infused water: Add slices of lemon, cucumber, or berries to your water bottle for a refreshing twist. You can always pack a few in a ziploc bag to add to your cup.
- Mocktails: Many airlines now offer non-alcoholic cocktails that are just as tasty as their boozy counterparts.
By opting for these alternatives, you can stay hydrated and maintain your energy levels without the potential drawbacks of alcohol and caffeine.
Strategies for Dealing with Dietary Restrictions
You may have dietary restrictions or food allergies. Communicating your needs to the airline in advance can ensure that you have suitable meal options during your flight.
Also, consider these strategies:
- Pack your own meals: Prepare a delicious and satisfying meal that meets your dietary requirements before you board the plane. I wouldn’t risk the chance of not having anything to eat, especially if it involves a medical condition.
- Snack wisely: Carry an assortment of snacks that align with your dietary needs to keep you fueled throughout the journey.
- Research local food options: Explore the local cuisine of your destination to find restaurants or grocery stores that cater to your dietary preferences.
Taking care of your dietary needs doesn’t mean you must compromise on taste and enjoyment while traveling.
Bonus Tips for Hygiene and Food Safety
Maintaining good hygiene while traveling is essential, especially when it comes to food safety.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Wash your hands: Use hand sanitizer or wet wipes before eating to minimize the risk of contamination.
- Avoid ice and tap water: Stick to bottled water or beverages from sealed containers.
- Be cautious with perishable foods: If you’re unsure about the safety of a particular food item, it’s better to err on the side of caution and avoid it. Don’t bring things that need to be refrigerated, or bring an insulated backpack.
This versatile backpack makes a great carry-on bag. There is an insulated compartment for food, but it will also hold your laptop and other travel necessities.
By being mindful of hygiene practices and following these tips, you can help ensure that your culinary adventures are safe and enjoyable.
I hope you feel inspired and well-prepared as a result of these tips.
Check out this past blog post for a stress-free flight “Anxiety Free Travel: 33 Helpful Tips.”
Remember, planning ahead, choosing nourishing snacks, and practicing mindful eating are key ingredients to make your in-flight experience a pleasant one.
Frequently Asked Questions
To eat low calories when traveling, focus on eating largely fresh vegetables and fruits. Keep portions small and avoid sugary foods and drinks.
Good food for a long flight are options that are portable, nutrient-rich, and easy to eat.
Some people may feel hungrier when flying because they are bored or anxious on a long flight. Eating can be a satisfying distraction from boredom and anxiety for many people.
Do you have any other tips or favorite snacks for long flights?
Share them with us on our Facebook page: Culture Feasting.
- Explore our recommended “Gift Guide for the Traveling Reader” and “Essential Gifts for Foodie Travelers.”
“5 Things Nutritionists Do After Vacation.” HuffPost, 25 Aug. 2015, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/reverse-damages-unhealthy-eating_n_55d6017fe4b07addcb45d5da.
Erickson, Agnes. “This Is Why You Get So Hungry On Airplanes.” Health Digest, 11 Jan. 2021, https://www.healthdigest.com/310640/this-is-why-you-get-so-hungry-on-airplanes/.
McCrory, Megan A., et al. “Dietary (Sensory) Variety and Energy Balance.” Physiology & Behavior, vol. 107, no. 4, Nov. 2012, pp. 576–83. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2012.06.012.