Food and drink to avoid before flying:
1. Gassy food is a pain in the gut (literally)
We’ll kick off with a golden rule, which is to avoid eating anything that’s going to make you feel bloated, especially on a long-haul flight. The reasons are obvious so we’ll spare you the gory details, but in general you want to avoid beans, gassy foods and, amazingly, demolishing five pints and a fry-up before a fight isn’t going to help much either. You’ll just make yourself uncomfortable, and that’s not the best way to start a holiday.
2. Cruciferous vegetables
No, that’s not a fancy word we’ve just made up. Cruciferious is actually a group of vegetables that includes cauliflower, bok choy, brussels sprouts and kale, to name a few. These super veggies are loaded with carbohydrates and vitamins, so they’re ace for diets and clean eating, but they can make you feel bloated and cause discomfort during flights. In rare cases they’ve even been known to cause seizures due to the pressurised environments like planes. Not so super.
3. Too much booze
See here’s the thing: yes, the in-flight bottles of booze are small, but if you rinse ten of them you’re obviously going to feel awful before you land. Alcohol in its many wondrous forms is dehydrating, and because planes have a dehydrating impact on the human body, you’re going to deprive yourself of much-needed fluids if you stick to wine or beer. If you do drink, remember to have a water between bevvies to keep your hydration up. Sound familiar? Here’s a traveller’s guide to the 10 best hangover cures from around the world.
4. Salty and spicy snacks
Have you ever noticed how when people fly in films they’re almost always eating a bag of salted peanuts? Well they’re doing it wrong, because salty snacks aren’t the best thing to be chowing down on during a flight. This is down to – you guessed it – too much salt, which can leave you feeling really thirsty. During a long flight this can have the knock on effects of water retention and a swollen stomach. Go unsalted if you can, and enjoy your snacks bloat-free.
5. Loads of caffeine
We get that for many of you lovely travellers out there, the thought of surviving a flight without a hit of sweet caffeine sounds like pure torture. But sadly, gulping too much of the stuff before or during a flight can have the dual effect of making you feel dehydrated and needing the bathroom more often. It can also mess up your sleep cycle, which can make you feel like crap after long flight (jet lag usually does for you just fine by the way, so there’s no need to poke that particular bear). If you’re a coffee lover, our guide to the world’s top 10 coffee capitals is enough to keep you awake at night.
6. Sugary sweeties
No one should eat too many sweets to be fair (and excessive amounts of cakes and donuts are a no-no too), but you should refrain from cracking open that giant, novelty Toblerone you just bought at the duty free. That’s because it’s going to send your blood sugar levels into orbit, which can leave you feeling hungry and sluggish. We understand though, those non-Brexit Toblerones have taken on mythical status, so you’ll probably want to gorge whenever you find one. Try not to though eh? Guilty of the Toblerone thing? You’re not alone. Here are 10 more things you shouldn’t do in airports.
7. Fizzy juice
If beans make you gassy on a flight, just imagine what a few bottles of fizzy juice are going to do to your precious innards. The caffeine and sugar are also going to do a merry jig all over your sleeping patterns, so you might find it hard to get the sleep you need during long haul flights. Keep your juice still, or if you need a hit of bubbles, go for a carbonated water instead. It’s a lesser of two evils.
What you should eat on or before a flight:
Now that we’ve gone through the don’t, let’s take a look at the dos.
1. Fruit, glorious fruit
We weren’t just going to give you a list of things you can’t eat when flying – where’d be the fun in that? Fruit is perfectly fine when flying, as it hydrates you and the vitamin c gives your immune system a boost. This helps reduce your chances of getting sick while flying, especially if someone else in the cabin is ill. When it comes to types of fruit, watermelons win the day as they’re particularly rich in antioxidants and water, making them an ideal candidate for your in-flight snack of choice.
2. Food with high protein
You don’t have to look far to find food with a bonus boiled egg on it, because protein. Protein might seem like a fad, but don’t knock it, because the filling effect of the stuff can help you feel fuller for longer. That means you’re less likely to reach for the unhealthy snacks or destroy that bag of Murray Mints you bought at the airport. Dried fruits, unsalted nuts and chicken are great if you need to up your protein levels.
3. Water, and lots of it!
There’s a lot of recirculated air going through plane cabins, and this typically reduces the amount of moisture in the air. This is why you may feel more thirsty than usual when flying, so it’s a good reason to stock up on water bottles at airport shops before you take off. Make sure you keep your hydration topped up throughout the journey, and don’t worry about going to the loo more often, we promise it’s worth it.
Want some more tips to make you a travel ninja? Try these…
It’s not too late to jet off this summer! Our guide to the Mediterranean is full of unmissable destinations which are ideal for a sunny getaway.