HYANNIS – Getting ready for a long flight? Don’t let stomach distress travel with you.
“Traveling can be hard on the body, but your food and drink choices can make it easier,” said Tracy Warren, RDN, a clinical dietitian in Cape Cod Hospital’s Nutrition Therapy department.
A greasy burger at the airport might be a quick way to fill up, but it could leave your stomach churning while you’re belted in your seat.
“Don’t try foods that you wouldn’t normally eat, because you don’t want to have any kind of GI upset during your traveling,” she said.
Planning ahead is key, Warren said. That starts with deciding whether you want to pack your own food.
“There are many choices at the airport, but most of them aren’t the best choices if you’re trying to eat healthy,” she said. She suggests bringing things like dried fruits, sandwiches, pasta salad, celery and carrot sticks, and granola bars.
Remember that the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) restricts what you can bring through airport security.
“The TSA has a helpful app that’s airport-specific, so you can look up what specific foods that airport will allow you to take through security. On a phone, look for the MyTSA mobile app.”
You can get the same info on the TSA’s web site. For example, a check for Boston’s Logan Airport says, “Solid food items (not liquids or gels) can be transported in either your carry-on or checked baggage. Liquid or gel food items larger than 3.4 oz are not permitted in carry-on baggage and should be placed in your checked baggage if possible.”
Healthy Restaurant Food Can Be Found
If you’d prefer to eat at the airport, Warren said to seek a restaurant that has healthier options.
“At Logan, the Dunkin’ Donuts offers a grab-and-go cooler that you can take on the plane,” she said. “It includes snack items like hummus and chips, fruit cup, yogurt parfait and cheese sticks.”
She recommended going online to check out the options in advance. For example, you can find a list of restaurants at Logan Airport and T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I., complete with menu summaries. This is especially important if you have any dietary restrictions.
“Stay away from fried foods, for your own sake, and gas-forming foods, so as not to upset your fellow travelers,” she said.
Both in the ground and in the air, she said, the most important thing is to drink plenty of water.
“Avoid alcohol, because that can be dehydrating,” she said. “Most airlines offer free water and juice, so take advantage of that.
“Throughout your traveling, stay hydrated and try not to change your eating habits, because traveling can take a lot out of you.”
For more travel tips, read “Your ticket for a healthy flight.”