Eating on the go is tough, especially when you’re trying to stay healthy while traveling. When deciding what to eat before your flight, there are some things you should stay away from. Here’s what to keep off your plate — and what to have instead.
Foods you shouldn’t eat before flying
If you have heartburn, or a sensitive stomach, stay away from spicy food before you fly. It can make your heartburn worse, and might cause stomach discomfort or digestive issues. Keep things mild until you get to wherever you’re headed.
Next: Normally, eating the skins of certain fruits is a good thing. Not in this case.
For some people, eating fruits like apples — in which you also eat the extremely fibrous skin — could lead to digestive irritation. Too much fiber can be harder for your body to digest, so if you do want to eat fruit, choose something with less fiber, like a banana.
Next: Though it’s tempting, avoid these types of foods if you’re prone to heartburn.
The fast food options at the airport tempt even the healthiest eaters to give in to cravings. There are a few good reasons why you shouldn’t, though. Fast food overall contains large amounts of oil, which can cause heartburn. The salt in french fries and similar foods can also cause your body to retain water, resulting in swollen and very uncomfortable feet.
Next: Does this food make you gassy? That’s not a good way to make friends on a plane.
You’ve probably heard beans are a great weight loss aid — full of fiber and nutrition to keep you full. Unfortunately, many people find that beans give them gas and other digestive discomforts. That’s fine when you’re safe and sound in the comfort of your own home, but you probably don’t want to deal with any of that on an airplane.
Next: Don’t chew this before boarding your flight.
Many people swear by chewing gum to keep their ears from popping during takeoff — but you shouldn’t do so beforehand. Chewing gum can be bad for you, but doing so also forces you to swallow large amounts of air. This can cause bloating and discomfort for the entirety of your flight.
Next: Don’t greet your seat mates with bad breath caused by this food.
Halitosis — the scientific term for “bad breath” — isn’t something you want to bring with you onto a plane. It may seem obvious to avoid garlic before going out in public. But without fresh minty gum to mask the odor, you’re probably better off staying away from it.
Next: This probably isn’t the best vegetable to eat before you’re trapped between strangers on a plane.
Similar to beans, certain vegetables like broccoli cause digestive problems in some people. They’re good for you overall, but maybe not before you have to sit on a plane for multiple hours. If you want to load up on something fiber-rich, you’re probably better off choosing citrus fruit or some nuts.
Next: This kind of beverage won’t sit well with you while you’re in the air.
Worst drinks before a flight
The reason you should avoid soda before flying actually doesn’t have anything to do with its sweetness. There’s a lot of carbonation in a can or bottle of soda, which fills your stomach with plenty of bubbles with nowhere to go. Mostly, it’s just uncomfortable, but it doesn’t make for a pleasant flight.
Next: Do you drink to get through a rough travel day? Don’t.
You probably shouldn’t have a glass of wine or beer before you fly — even if the whole process makes you anxious. Even a small amount of alcohol in your system could make motion sickness worse. If you want to avoid feeling sick to your stomach while you fly, save the alcohol for when you finally reach your travel destination.
Next: If you want to sleep better during your flight, say no to this drink.
Caffeine is a diuretic, which means drinking a lot of it will make you have to pee, probably a lot more than usual. If you don’t want to have to stop on the way to or throughout the airport for a bathroom break, and you don’t want to have to get up during your flight, skip your morning coffee. Avoiding caffeine will also help you sleep better during your trip.
Next: Eat these foods before you fly to ensure a more comfortable trip.
What to eat before your flight
Nuts are an extremely healthy snack in small amounts. Their saltiness can satisfy your cravings without loading your body with too much sugar or unhealthy fat. They also contain small amounts of fiber and protein, which promote healthy digestion and fullness. They’ll fill you up much faster — and keep you feeling that way — than a bag of chips or a candy bar.
Next: For energy that hits you fast, grab a small serving of these.
If you need a good travel snack to hold you over until you can find something better, dried fruit might provide just the right amount of energy and nutrition you need. There’s a lot of sugar in dehydrated fruit like raisins, but when you’re on the go and need a quick burst of energy to hold you over, that’s not such a bad thing.
Next: Grab one of these before you head to the airport to keep your energy levels up.
Before you fly, you’ll need a good source of energy to get you through the business and stress of air travel. Bananas provide just over 100 calories per fruit, but they’re packed with fiber and small amounts of protein. A single banana can keep you on your feet until you stop for something to eat at the airport.
Next: A little citrus can go a long way.
Oranges contain large amounts of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C and fiber. They’re not only healthy, but the perfect quick snack before heading to the airport or boarding the plane. This fruit will stabilize your blood sugar for a longer period of time, just in case you don’t get a decent meal until later on in your travel day.
Next: This breakfast food will fill you up and keep you feeling good.
If you’re grabbing a quick breakfast before you head to the airport, you won’t regret a simple bowl of oatmeal. Oats are whole grains that, when combined with water, promote optimal digestive health. Its combined soluble and insoluble fiber will help clean out your digestive tract before you’re stuck on a long flight, and won’t leave you with a grumbling stomach as you anxiously wait to land.
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