- Dr. Sanda Moldovan

Airplane Food: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

Airplane Food: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

It’s summertime and vacation travel brings with it the challenges of keeping up your healthy food plan while you are away. The first step to clean eating on a trip starts for many of us when we step onto the airplane. Airline food is no longer as limited as it was back in the day–when the only options were “beef” or “chicken.”

You will now find most airlines provide a variety of meals that cater to all sorts of  personal preference diets, medical needs and religious food plans. You must select your entrees ahead of time and schedule your meals during the booking process, because most flights don’t have the special meals on the plane as they are prepared as special menus.

While on my computer checking in for my 15 1/2 hour flight to Australia, I wanted to really think through my options in advance for what would be the equivalent of two full days of eating. I was given the options of vegetarian, gluten free, vegan and octo-lacto vegetarian. I prefer to maintain mostly a gluten-free diet which is void of wheat, flour, barley, oats, rye, sauces, gravy, stock cube, sausages, or sausage meats and pasta. My protein comes from fish, eggs and legumes.

So, what’s this girl to do, when faced with the following decisions: should I check vegetarian–knowing I’m going to get a pasta dish full of gluten? Or do I choose gluten free, and then it’s going to be all chicken and beef, which I respectfully do not eat? Instead of ‘where’s the beef?’ — as in the familiar old Wendy’s fast food restaurant ad–where are the meals suitable for those of us who are fish-atarians and gluten-free? And, a salad alone is not going to fill me up for the entire flight.

I spent a lot of time on these food choices, before going with ovo-lacto vegetarian. Sure enough, pasta shows up on my plate when my tray is served for dinner on the flight. I knew this would be the case, so I took several enzymes which assist in gluten breakdown. This always prevents me from bloating which comes after a pasta dish.

I countered the temptation of sweet biscuits, cakes pastries or cookies by bringing snacks with me. I had an arsenal of apple slices, raw sprouted almonds and my mom’s homemade grain-free crackers. As a result, I felt satisfied and my energy level was stable, even better than if I had indulged in any of the treats the airline provides. Let’s face facts and accept their desserts are not going to be homemade and will most likely be full of over processed ingredients. They are not worth the calories and there is usually zero nutritional value.

Since flying can be stressful all on its own, l want to share some travelers’ tips to stay the course and start your trip out right, by staying in the healthy eating zone.

1. It’s okay to say no. Assert yourself and know that it’s okay to politely decline when the airline attendant stops at your seat offering inflammatory foods.

2. Prepare your favorite healthy snacks ahead of time. Pack protein bars with less than 11 g of sugar and nuts.

3. Most shops in the airport sell raw almonds. If you forget or find you didn’t have time to stash some snacks away, being in a hurry doesn’t mean you have to worry.

4. Drink loads of water to stay hydrated. Liquids will help with jet lag and help prevent blood clots on long travels.

5. Take chewable vitamin C. It will help satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you from getting sick.

Have an amazing time– knowing you are starting your trip with the optimal health you and your family enjoy at home!

In great health,
Dr. Santa

For more tips on maintaining your oral and nutritional health while traveling contact Dr. Sanda Moldovan to schedule a consultation.

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