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Eating on the flyEating on the fly

Tips for staying healthy—and crumb-free—in the cockpit

Personally, I would expand the idea of the sterile cockpit to “no food, no drink.” But not everyone can or should suppress the urge for a snack or the need to keep hydrated, especially on a long trip.

On long flights, snacks can make your trip more enjoyable and prevent the side effects of hunger. Photo by Mike Fizer.

So what do you do to avoid Dorito-stained upholstery, smears on your touchscreens, and gunk on your knobs? Not to mention the effect many portable snack foods have on your overall health. Too much sugar will make you feel sluggish and too much salt may contribute to high blood pressure.

First, avoid everything that squirts, dribbles, melts, crumbles, or requires assembly. That eliminates a lot of unhealthy options: chips, burgers, ice cream—you get the idea. Granola bars are overrated. A lot of them are loaded with sugar, the soft ones leave your fingers sticky, and the crunchier ones disintegrate. Second, make it bite-size. That way, you can pop it into your mouth and not spill anything down the front of your shirt. Third, package everything in sealable containers or Ziploc bags. You don’t want food rolling around in the cockpit if you hit turbulence.

Bearing in mind the caveats, what can you eat on an airplane? For healthy options, concentrate on fruits and vegetables. Grape tomatoes are great finger food, healthy, and will help keep you hydrated. That also goes for grapes. If you require something more substantial, prepare small skewers with apple, cubes of cheese, and radishes. For your sweet tooth, pack dried apricots or raisins. Need that crunch? Grab a bag of baked apple chips. Want to get fancy? Lather a tortilla with mashed avocado, drizzle with lime juice, top with smoked salmon, roll up, cut into small sections, and secure each with a toothpick. Just hold the champagne for later.

When it comes to drinking, stick to water, pure and simple. Soft drinks are sugary, and caffeinated beverages can dehydrate you. If you find water boring, brew some hibiscus tea the night before you leave. Spice it up with slices of ginger. Among other benefits, hibiscus is said to have anti-inflammatory properties and is thought to help lower blood pressure. Carry either beverage in a sealable water bottle with an integrated straw to avoid spills.

Use these hints as your guidelines and hopefully you’ll arrive at your destination feeling energized, with an unsoiled shirt, and an immaculate interior.

Sylvia Schneider Horne

Media Production Specialist
Sylvia Schneider Horne is media production specialist for AOPA.
Topics: Travel

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