The following scenario is sure to ring a bell: a long flight, lots of free time ahead and the resulting boredom. There is no better appetite stimulant! But, before and during the flight, it is better not to pull the first thing our body asks of us, but rather to turn to the foods that make us feel better, keep us hydrated and help us fight the symptoms of emulating Icarus, such as the well-known foot swelling or bad rest. We have prepared this brief guide so that you are clear about what to eat and what to avoid on board a plane.
Digestive problems are not uncommon while on board. Our body experiences variations when we are at 10,000 meters above sea level, and adapting our diet is important. The stomach takes longer to empty because the mobility of the digestive tract is slowed down. Gastric secretion is also reduced and intestinal gas expands.
There are even occasionally abnormal conditions that can lead to increased gas formation in the gastrointestinal tract. And that, precisely because of altitude, they can cause painful abdominal distension accompanied by a drop in blood pressure, sweating and even collapse.
On-board Digestive Issues
How can we avoid this? Well, it is recommended to avoid chewing gum (which increases air swallowing), you especiialy need to avoid gas-forming foods such as cabbages, drinks with bubbles, raw apples, celery, sausages and very fatty foods.
Please avoid eating a bowl of this before the flight!
In general, digestive infusions are good allies, and a golden rule is that you should try to avoid heavy meals. Airplane meals are always light, and not to test your appetite, but precisely because your body needs much less fuel than if you were to carry out your daily routine. The companies elaborate their menus of the hand of nutritionists and, very often, of great cooks, who combine without problems flavor and health. For example, the French Top Chef winner, Jean Imbert, is responsible for Air France’s “A la Carte” menus, which illustrate well what we explain. Among the dishes, we highlight a chicken stew (much less fatty) or a fruit dessert, a “chute” of water and vitamins perfect for passengers.
Avoid high-sugar foods
Many companies tempt us with sugar-filled snacks that are not the best flying partners. It’s better to eat nuts (rich in fiber) than chocolates and snacks that barely provide us with empty calories, and certainly don’t help us fall asleep. Unless you have work to on your laptop while on your flight, avoid such stimulating snacks or else your flight will be even more uncomfortable.
Baked goods with refined flour (since simple carbohydrates convert to sugar) are not usually recommended either, although occasionally, a good croissant can be a good protagonist of a breakfast.
Flying with Hypoglycemia
Never, ever, travel on an empty stomach. These two symptoms usually appear in those who embark without having tasted food. It is important to consume complex carbohydrates, like a portion of rice (better if it is integral, by the fiber), paste or a snack. The muesli, that puts the digestive apparatus in movement, also is a good election. Of course, hydration is key before and during the flight. On the Lufthansa website you will find a series of very useful tips to avoid fainting. We, like them, recommend ginger tea from our own experience, which is also perfect for pregnant women in the first trimester, because it helps a lot to improve the feared nausea, much more unpleasant in an airplane.
That annoying swelling.
Becoming a walking balloon is another consequence of long flights. Therefore, in addition to wearing comfortable clothes and using the socks provided by the cabin staff, we must be attentive to our food. It is important to drink plenty of water and consume infusions that help us avoid water retention, such as horsetail. In addition, it is not good to over-salt the food we are served on board: it is not bland, it includes the salt you need.
Know your body & diet
There are more and more passengers who, for medical, nutritional or religious reasons, need special menus. Therefore, with some advance notice, it is possible to order meals adapted to your needs. For example, Turkish Airlines offers this service on all flights (except domestic) according to the provisions of the International Air Transport Association. It also offers ready-made meals without nuts. If you have any intolerance or condition, do not forget that on a plane you do not have a large group of restaurants at your disposal: remember to order your menu.
Trust the meals on board.
As we said before, nutrition is a very important aspect for all companies, which make an effort to prepare their food and to preserve it. In the last few years, the gourmet fever has reached the heights and more and more companies are not only taking care of their “sanitary” aspect, but also of their organoleptic aspect. For example, on some flights Turkish Airlines has a chef on board who supervises the preparation process and ensures that the menus are well served. Star chefs are increasingly advising the airlines. For example, Qatar Airways has two first-rate chefs, Nobu Matsuhisa (Nobu) and Vineet Bhatia (Rasoi), who adapt their dishes to the demands and needs of passengers. So leave the tupperware at home and eat on board - and enjoy!