Air travel is taxing, both physically and mentally. It saps energy, challenges the immune system, and disrupts your sleep cycle. It can create stress and anxiety, test your patience, and make you puffy and bloated. Then there’s the food.
Many airport terminals and airlines have dramatically improved their offerings compared with a decade ago, but they’re still not choices you can consistently rely on. The newsstand is usually bad news, and the biggest sellers are still junk food, candy, fast food, and alcohol—which are some of the biggest culprits in the “Not So Fab” Four category. All the hurrying, worrying, and waiting makes you crave comfort food and perhaps something to take the edge off. That’s why airports can make McDonald’s and a glass of chardonnay seem like a good combination.
Here are a few simple strategies to tilt the situation back in your favor. When you’re on the go, they can help turn any travel day—whether it’s for a stressful work trip or a fun vacation—into just another body-loving day!
FUEL UP WITH THE FAB FOUR BEFORE YOU GO.
Heading to the airport on an empty stomach is just like grocery shopping on one: when you’re hungry and surrounded by food, it can lead you to make decisions you otherwise wouldn’t. The best way to counter the temptation is to fuel up and eat before you go.
• Option 1: Fast until you arrive at your destination. This means a morning black coffee or unsweetened tea, LMNT electrolytes*, and lots of water. *I am an investor and by using my link you will receive a free gift with purchase! The LMNT Sample Pack includes 1 packet of every flavor. This is the perfect offer for anyone who is interested in trying all of our flavors or who wants to introduce a friend to LMNT.
• Option 2: Eat a full Fab Four meal at home or at your favorite healthy restaurant or market. Depending on your flight time, I would try to stick to your normal eating time for that meal and maintain normal eating hours throughout the entire day. For example, if I have an evening or red-eye flight, I stay fasted after dinner just like at home.
• Option 3: A Fab Four Smoothie is always a great option. If your flight is early in the morning, blend it up the night before and stick it in the fridge. The fiber can thicken overnight, so just add a little water or nut milk in the morning, shake a few times, and off you go. Then sip it in your car on the way to the airport. It saves time and money, shuts down hunger, and sets you up for the rest of the day. Plus, with a quick rinse, you have a reusable water bottle for your trip.
• Option 4: If you’re crunched on time, bring a Fab Four meal through security, then eat it in the terminal or even on your flight. Think of it as your Fab Four carry-on.
- My favorite go-to is to build a big salad loaded with greens, veggies and a protein like a can of wild salmon.
- If you have leftovers, throw them over a bed of greens and add half an avocado, and sliced cucumber and bell pepper. Bring a mini container with your favorite dressing or a single-serving olive oil packet.
CONSIDER FASTING ON A FLIGHT. If done properly, intermittent fasting can be used as an occasional tool to aid in decreasing elevated glucose, insulin, and inflammatory markers while supporting weight loss efforts. If you want to fast, get serious and pack for it. A large stainless water bottle and 2 LMNT packs every 12-hour fast, polyphenol-rich teas to add to hot or cold water and limit their coffee intake to one or two cups maximum. It’s equally as important to feel emersed in your flight activity, work, a beach read or a meditation track. The point isn’t to starve and deprive yourself, but to use a defined period of time to gain the benefits of intermittent fasting and then eat a full Fab Four meal that keeps you balanced.
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE. Flying dehydrates us. Staying hydrated by sticking to H2O with electrolytes is key. Ensure there is no added sugar, I recommend staying properly hydrated with LMNT electrolytes. The first thing I do when I get through airport security is head to the nearest filtered water fountain. Many airports now have filtered water fountains designed for refilling your water bottle. If you can’t find one, Starbucks also has filtered water. I try not to buy plastic bottled water because BPA, phthalates, and other plastic additives have been linked to fertility and reproduction problems, blunted immune function, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. (Learn more here) This usually saves between eight and ten dollars on plastic bottled water. (Plus, where do you buy that water? Usually at the newsstand, which is full of junk food and candy.) When you get to your destination, you can use your stainless steel or glass bottle. Here are a few of my favorites:
DON’T GO EMPTY-HANDED. In general, I don’t recommend daily snacking because it can disrupt digestion and be detrimental to blood sugar balance and weight loss goals. But for a travel day, a Fab Four Snack Pack may help prevent bad decisions when anxiety, hunger, or boredom sets in. It can be a smart bridge tool and a better option than what’s available at the newsstand or on the plane.
• FAB FOUR SNACK PACK #1: 2 hard-boiled eggs (protein), 1 bag raw nuts or nut butter (fat), and 1⁄2 to 1 cup chopped vegetables such as cucumber, celery, peppers, carrot, zucchini, or radish (fiber and greens).
• FAB FOUR SNACK PACK #2: 1 body-loving protein bar (protein), 1 packet MCT powder (fat), and 1⁄2 to 1 cup chopped vegetables (fiber and greens).
• FAB FOUR SNACK PACK #3: 1 bag raw nuts, seeds, or nut butter (protein), 1 avocado (fat), and 1⁄2 to 1 cup chopped vegetables (fiber and greens). Optional: 1⁄4 cup blueberries.
AIRPORT SURVIVAL 101. Let’s say you didn’t have time to pack anything, here are my favorite things to purchase at the newsstand. Nuts; raw almonds or cashews and shelled pistachios normally only contain pistachios and salt. Jerky; most airports have expanded their jerky options to include grass-fed options like Epic. Veggie and dip packs are great but I would ditch the dip which is likely loaded with bad oils and sugar. Fruit; speaking of sugar a banana is a fiber-rich way to satisfy your sweet tooth.