What to Eat when You are Flying – The Kitchen Rag

“Attention. Flight 9876 will not be taking off at three due to maintenance issues. We will be delayed for another hour.  Thank you for flying with American Airlines. We will keep you updated.”

After this announcement I texted my husband while munching on an apple that I would most likely spend the night in the Dallas airport. My intuition proved to be correct…

The worst part of getting stuck in an airport – besides the fact that you might end up sleeping on the floor – is the the sub-par food. Not only is it extremely expensive but it is for the most part very low quality unless you are ready to throw 30 or 40 bucks at some pseudo-fancy restaurant, and even then don’t count on your food coming from conscionable sources…

And really, flying is just plain stressful anyways. You have to go through security and be constantly rushed though long lines, hoping TSA wont throw away the bottle of lotion or sunscreen you have in your carry on. Then you rush to your gate hoping your flight takes off in time to make your next connection. Finally you get on the plane, only to be crammed into a tense sitting position, stuck in a pressurized cabin shooting hundreds of miles an hour across time zones at very high altitudes for several straight hours. All in all a very stressful day! All these are stressors  impact your digestive tract and can make it difficult to digest your food properly.

Flights used to leave me extremely nauseous and exhausted. Since my family lives so far away, in Eastern Europe, I have done many long flights and layovers. For a while I thought that it was normal to feel really sick during plane rides. Then I started studying nutrition and what happens in the digestive tract. I realized that flying really mess up my digestive system; food seems to shoot straight through without getting absorbed.

So, as I revolutionized my eating habits at home I switched the way I eat on flights too. These days, when I am flying, I tend to stay away from meats and other heavy foods that the body has to exert more effort to digest. Instead of big ham and cheese sandwiches, I choose these lighter foods.

Here is my last trip, in food.

Sliced Veggies

They are hydrating and easy to digest. This time  my choice  was cucumbers and bell peppers, but I usually grab whatever is in season or the Framer’s Market.



I got this from a local company that DOES NOT use vegetable oil or any other questionable ingredients. For the sake of other passengers, make sure it has no garlic! Not that I am not speaking from personal experience 😉  You can absolutely make your own hummus too if you have time. I love this simple recipe from Real Healy Vegetarian, maybe skip the garlic though:)




Rye Crackers


Always check out the ingredient list for hidden offenders!


Kale Chips

I love kale chips! No I did not make these at home, either. I ran out of time. These are delicious and way better than potato chips.


Check out the ingredient list on these too! I got them at our local grocery store. If you can’t find them anywhere you can always order them on amazon here. They are a bit pricey, but oh so good. The best and cheapest kale chips are definitely the ones you make at home in your dehydrator.

The other issue on flights is the very poor beverage selection. They have plenty of soda, artificially sweetened juice, nasty coffee, Lipton, and $6 macro brews, but nothing likely to make you feel better than before you drank it.  One time I asked the flight attendant  for a cup of chamomile tea and she looked at me as if I asked for cocaine. Chamomile always settles my tummy and helps me relax, so since then I bring some of my own tea with me 🙂 This time I brought my own mug too with a tea ball and two small bags of loose chamomile and jasmine green tea. You don’t have to bring your own mug, but I did because their little paper cups are very small and I like to have  a nice healthy dose of tea – not to mention the environmental impact. Yes, doing this is more work and more for you to carry, but it really helps increase the quality of your trip and you tummy will be a lot happier. The only thing you need to ask the flight attendant for is hot water 🙂


So I happily embarked on my trip to Nashville to witness my brother in laws happy union to a wonderful woman. My husband flew a few days before me for a bachelor party/camping trip, so I was on my own. The view from my plane was incredible!

The woman next to me ate two brownies and a coke while I munched on my bell peppers and sipped on my chamomile tea.  After a while she said I made her feel guilty and I assured her that I have a sweet tooth myself which I am constantly struggling with. After we chatted for a while I shared some of my veggies with her  and we talked about overcoming sugar addictions. We both shared our stories and facing our sugar daemons. You can go here to read about my past love affair with deserts.

In the Dallas airport I sadly found out that I had missed my plane by about an hour. Fortunately, I was given a voucher for a hotel room. I ate in my hotel room from the bounty of my back pack. The next morning I woke up at 4:30am and took the shuttle to the airport holding a food voucher for twenty bucks that the airline had given me. I had  a few veggies left even though I devoured the kale chips and most of the hummus the night before. Since my flight wasn’t leaving until 7:20 I decided to take a look around the airport in hopes of maybe finding some half decent food to spend my twenty bucks on. First thing I saw when I  got closer to a small food court was this sign.


 And then this was the busiest restaurant.


And more bread!


I got a little nervous about taking more photos with my camera after a few people eyed me suspiciously. I didn’t want to miss another flight!  In the end I got a bottle of water for three bucks. I was so thankful I still had some food left! Overall I spent about twenty five bucks on my food and had enough for the whole trip, which lasted about 20 hours. In fact, my husband finished the last of the hummus and crackers after I arrived. Plus my digestive system was in way better shape then other trips I have taken in the past.

However this does not mean that you should all eat hummus, veggies, and crackers when you are travelling. You know your body better than me and what you can and can’t handle. I am encouraging you though to listen to your body and fuel it with wholesome foods that will be easy to digest during long, stressful journeys that seem to overtax our digestive system.

What do you eat when you are flying?