Seasoned travelers used to complain about airline food. Now they complain about the fact that airlines no longer serve a meal. And with the prevalence of peanut allergies, airlines have had to get creative about the snacks that they do serve: 100 calorie packets of pretzels or crackers. Certainly not enough to keep a toddler distracted much less take the place of lunch or dinner. So what’s a passenger to do?
I’ve got the answer in 3 words: plan, Plan, PLAN.
Plan on eating a meal before you leave home or your holiday accommodations. Include a good source of protein even at breakfast for staying power to get you through to your next meal. Now the airline pretzels will be an okay snack.
Plan on grabbing a bite while waiting for connecting flights. Try not to buy something from the first vendor that you come to. If you have a couple of hours between flights spend at least a few minutes to look over your varied options. By now you need to stretch your legs anyway.
You will be surprised I think to see that you can actually make some good food choices in the airline terminal. Yes, there are still fast food establishments but you might be able to get a salad and low fat dressing there. The coffee barista also has fresh fruit and a nice assortment of sandwiches on whole grain bread(s). If they can agree on a filling, 2 kids can share one sandwich. Since you can get bottled water everywhere there is no need to settle for soft drinks.
You won’t save calories or $$ by just purchasing snacks from the news stand/sundries shop. You’ll have more energy (and patience) left at the end of your trip if you make the effort to get real food while you travel.
Plan to pack your own snacks if any leg of your trip is longer than 2 hours in length. Trail mix, granola bars, string cheese, baby carrots and dried fruit travels well AND gets through security without a second look. Keep them accessible by placing in your carry on bag. Increase the nutrient value by requesting fruit juice rather than coffee, tea or soda during the beverage service. Again, protein helps to keep tummies satisfied for a while or until you can sit down for a real meal.
Whether you are coming or going, get there with more stamina and less stress. Happy trails!