What to eat and what to avoid before and during a flight

Knowing what to eat to ensure you have a happy and healthy flight can make a huge difference. Photo / Getty Images
Knowing what to eat to ensure you have a happy and healthy flight can make a huge difference. Photo / Getty Images

It may have come on hugely in recent years, but plane food still has a reputation that is hard to shake.

So what should you eat before a flight to ensure you're well-nourished, and then during it to stay healthy on-board?

FEMAIL spoke to leading Australian nutritionist and food author, Lee Holmes, to find out what you should be eating before you board different duration flights.

Holmes also revealed what can be good to eat and drink when you're on your flight - anyone for a Bloody Mary?

Short haul - 1-3 hours

According to Holmes a big, protein-rich meal - such as a three-egg omelette - before you board a short-haul flight.

"This will stabilise your blood sugar and help you feel satiated," she told Daily Mail Australia.

"Avoid anything that is going to be hard to digest or make you gassy."

Holmes also said it pays to bring a snack, such as nuts, so you don't feel the need to give into the (usually unhealthy) sweet treats provided.

It's most beneficial to have a big, protein-rich meal - such as a three-egg omelette - before you fly. Photo / Getty Images
It's most beneficial to have a big, protein-rich meal - such as a three-egg omelette - before you fly. Photo / Getty Images

"On board, say yes to things like fresh fruit, nuts, herbal teas and a Bloody Mary," she said.

"Bloody Marys are the unofficial go-to cocktail on board, and for good reason.

"Research shows your taste buds for umami-flavoured foods such as tomatoes, potatoes and soy beans are heightened at higher altitude.

"Because many airlines keep the cabin at around 10 to 15 per cent humidity, this dries out your nose and mouth and decreases your sense of taste even more.

Bloody Marys are the unofficial go-to cocktail on board, and for good reason. Photo / Getty Images
Bloody Marys are the unofficial go-to cocktail on board, and for good reason. Photo / Getty Images

"While sweets taste less sweet and flavours are often diminished, tomatoes and certain spices improve in these conditions."

We're sure you don't need telling twice.

Mid-length - 3-5 hours

When your journey gets a little longer, think a bit more carefully about what you're putting into your body before and during a flight.

"Have a smoothie with coconut milk and veg or fruit to fill you up and keep you hydrated,' Holmes said.

Eat some healthy fats, such as an avocado, before you board. Photo / Getty Images
Eat some healthy fats, such as an avocado, before you board. Photo / Getty Images

"Avoid eating too much sodium beforehand, as this can give you jet bloat."

Eat healthy fats such as an avocado, and something magnesium-rich like a banana before you board.

"A can of tuna is also a good option," Holmes said.

Long distance - 5 hours plus

Long-distance flights are a world of pain for most, but they needn't be quite so bad - provided you get your food choices right.

"Eating fresh, nutritious foods before a flight is beneficial, as are fermented foods like yoghurt, which helps boost your good gut bugs.

Eat fermented foods like yoghurt which helps boost your good gut bugs. Photo / Getty Images
Eat fermented foods like yoghurt which helps boost your good gut bugs. Photo / Getty Images

"Oranges and brightly coloured vegetables will also give you a Vitamin C hit to boost your immune system."

And what to avoid

Last but not least, there are several things that you should avoid like the plague if you want to have a healthy, happy flight.

"The cooked meals provided are generally laden with salt, sugar and preservatives, so they're worth avoiding if at all possible.

"The bread rolls and pastries should be dodged, as should anything too spicy.

"If you really want to avoid aircraft food pack a quinoa salad with pumpkin and greens."

- Daily Mail

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