Departure lounge food options can set you up for a successful trip. Carol Sadler, PhD, Consultant Nutritionist, travels frequently overseas and explains some useful tips to ensure a more successful journey when travelling long distance.
The fast way in and out of an airport is with ‘carry-on’ baggage. Space in the case is tight. So buying food in the departure lounge which can be carried on and easily disposed is one way to ensure preferred food options during the flight.
Know the Rules – most airlines allow you to carry one bag of purchased items, in addition to carry-on baggage. Carrying purchased liquids is a special case.
WATER The price may be inflated, but hydration on long or short haul flights is very important. The time between drinking a beverage in the terminal and getting served on board can be hours, but this won’t be a problem if we have our own supply. On reaching arrivals and if the onward journey is long, it helps to have our own drink.
Most destinations allow you to carry water purchased in the departure lounge. However, on flights into some countries, such as Australia, departure lounge purchased water will be confiscated. In these countries, an empty flask comes in handy and can be filled from the water fountain at the departure gate. This trick can be used for most destinations, if we have space to carry with us the drink container.
TAKE AWAY FOOD – think about your timing, flight duration and the situation at the destination. The eat-in/take away cafes in some airports sell excellent quality sandwiches, salads and healthy snacks, which can be very superior to the fare available on some flights. Long haul, overnight flights may serve the main meal close to or after mid-night, when we might want to sleep. Many passengers will have transferred from flights in other time zones, especially at airports that don’t operate an overnight curfew.
The longer the flight, the more important it is to be prepared. Day time flights might need no extras, but twelve hours or more, especially overnight when we might wake and sleep at odd times, it helps to carry supplies.
Tasty terminal purchased snacks can also be a bonus when we reach our destination.
Keeping It Healthy
Most airlines don’t excel at serving healthy food but some departure lounge cafes do. Avoid anything likely to spill. Dried fruit and raw nuts are easy to nibble, apples are very refreshing on a flight, and don’t easily squash. Premade sandwiches and salads sold in the some airports display nutritional information, making it easier to choose light options and avoid the foods high in fat and salt.
Don’t forget to discard any uneaten raw food before entering most foreign countries. Countries like New Zealand will demand you dispose of or leave any uneaten food stuff on the plane before disembarking or face a penalty. And this includes any leftover fruit.
SQUASHED AND CRUMBLY The air on flights is extremely dry. Bread and cakes become tough and crumbly unless they are sealed in plastic wrappers. Sandwiches in tough packages and cake/cereal bars in a plastic wrapper survive a journey in much better shape than a muffin or croissant in a paper bag. Dry pastries are also a disaster for covering clothes in crumbs.
KEEP CLEAN Airports abound with germs. Disinfecting wet wipes can be used to clean hands before eating and even wipe over the tray table and arm rest. Should our on-board picnic include delicious lemon drizzle cake, these can be particularly useful.
COMING HOME Some airports are more difficult to navigate than others for healthy food. If you have any helpful observations, then please do let us know.
© Extravitality 2015