What foods are recommended and why?
Foods that are light, healthy and easy to digest are best to have before and during your flight as they won’t leave you feeling sluggish or bloated. Most of the time we eat the meals because we are bored and not out of hunger, so I suggest that you try to avoid eating out of boredom.
I personally started to fast on flights a few years ago and I feel so much better for it. I make sure that I drink a lot of water though to get me through and I always carry small snacks for longer flight such as dried fruit and nuts. Having high fibre snacks also helps me to avoid the post flight constipation that many suffer with. I also make sure that I take some probiotics in both supplements and through fermented food for a week or two before travelling to boost digestive health and prevent any build up after travelling.
If I’m on a longer flight or if I wasn’t able to bring my own snacks, I still try to have only foods that are easier to digest such as fish, vegetables and fruit. Focusing a protein will keep energy levels sustained and won’t play havoc with the digestive system.
What foods should travelers stay away from and why?
Anything high in salt will cause the body to dehydrate which makes us feel lousy.
Foods high in sugar will cause you to feel energized initially but then leave you in a total energy slump, this includes breads, pasta, white rice and of course the standard dessert that comes with each meal
Foods containing dairy and gluten can often leave people feeling bloated and gasey as they have an undiagnosed intolerance. Being on a plane can worsen those symptoms so avoid those foods for yourself and for the sake of others around you.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol the day before the flight and during travel as both have adverse effects on sleep patterns and cause dehydration in the body which will worsen jet lag. Instead opt for water or herbal teas to both soothe and rehydrate the body.
Any dietary tips and tricks to help with jet lag?
Rehydrate, rehydrate and rehydrate even more as dehydration causes us to feel weak and irritable making jetlag even worse! I always like to take my own empty water bottle in my hand luggage. Once you get on the plane you can fill it up and continue to do so throughout the flight. This will keep you both rehydrated moving during the flight which helps with circulation.
Avoid salty foods as they will further dehydrate the body but instead focus on high water fruits and vegetables as snacks or as part of the meal.
Eat light and healthy before the flight, going for healthy proteins and fats and some vegetables but avoid anything that is too difficult to digest such as processed junk foods or high sugar foods.
What to eat after you land is also very important in fighting jet lag. Go for lighter meals that are easy to digest, otherwise your energy will all go toward digesting that food leaving you feeling even more exhausted. Have a good balance of complex carbs, healthy fats, protein and vegetables.
The timing of your meals can also play a major role in adjusting to your new timezone. Don’t just eat on a night flight out of boredom, save that meal or have your own high protein and fibre snacks and have them as close to the time your next meal would be in the new timezone. For example, when I have to do a night flight from London to Dubai, I skip the first meal and focus on getting some rest. I then have my breakfast towards the end of the flight, setting my body clock up for the day and getting it prepared for the new schedule.
Your mental state during the flight affects how severe your jet lag is so make sure you get a good sleep the night before and try methods to distress before getting on the plane, or even during the flight, such as meditation and practicing deep breathing.
Get some natural light when you land at your destination as this helps the body adapt to different time zones.