Saturday, November 28, 2009

You Can't Always Take it With You

Images from The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!
Illustrator Laura Coyle
Food on the Fly!

Air travel is true survival mode these days and that means more people than ever are packing their own snacks and even meals to help get them through the day. Since airline meals (at least the free ones) are disappearing too it’s even more important to have an in-flight food plan.

Navigate Nutritiously.
-Ask for OJ. The nutrients in 100 percent orange juice help boost your immune system to give you a fighting chance to ward off cold and flu germs floating in airport concourses or the cabin air on crowded flights. Ask the flight attendant to mix orange juice with sparkling water for a nutritious low calorie quencher. I love the fresh squeezed orange juice at Nature’s Table Bistro on Concourse E of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport.
- Snack Smart. Bag own “sky trail mix” of peanuts, almonds, walnuts, dried cranberries, and granola. Healthy fats and stomach filling fiber will keep you keep going and this combo will be much lower in sodium than the airline’s on board snack mixes. You want to cut down on sodium intake today, because all that sitting can lead to unwanted puffiness and even ankle swelling.
- Concourse Cuisine. If you are bored and have flipped through all of your magazines even before take off, you might be tempted to reach for food as entertainment. So, make sure to ask yourself if you are really famished. If it is in fact mealtime the good news is that most airports do have healthier choices today including freshly made sandwiches, salads, yogurt and even sushi. A salad is fine, but make sure it contains some kind of protein, such as chicken, turkey, ham, eggs or cheese to keep your blood sugar on an even keel. Stress can take a toll driving your blood sugar level down way below normal.

-This flight is making me thirsty! Buy bottled water on the concourse after security screening to drink while you wait and to take on board in carry-on. Or bring an empty water bottle or other container to fill up from an airport drinking fountain (after you’ve gone through security) to avoid paying for water at airport vendors.
- Watch the alcohol at altitude. You and your skin and your brain can really get dehydrated in a pressurized cabin. Alcohol can accelerate dehydration. If it’s at the end of long travel day and you want a drink to unwind, that’s fine. But make sure to double up on water with the wine.
-If you happen to be on a flight that serves a meal, know that you can order a special meal ahead of time. Airlines request a minimum of 24-hours notice. Special meals usually include fruit for dessert.

Airport Security Food Police

Keep in mind that airport security rules prohibit “gel type substances” such as yogurts and liquids such as bottled water or other beverages in carry-on luggage you take through security check points. Solid foods such as sandwiches, hard cheeses, crackers, fresh fruit and vegetables are allowed. Just as security officials don’t like wrapped gifts, make sure food be seen through its packaging and falls under the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) guidelines for acceptable items. (And no snow globes! That’s on the TSA website too.)
Holiday travelers take note- you can NOT take these foods through airport security even if the home made jam is your Aunt Martha’s.
Cranberry sauce
Creamy dips and spreads
Peanut butter
Maple syrup
Oils and vinegars
Salad dressing
Wine, liquor and beer

But good news, if you’re bringing the cherry cream pie or caramel cake to the family gathering TSA rules state, “You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but please be advised that they are subject to additional screening.” (Especially if it looks like a really good dessert.)

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