Have your ever had to eat in an airport and walked what felt like miles up and down the terminal trying to find at least one healthy entrée?
Of course you have!
I’m Marcey Rader, Lifestyle Trainer for Mobile Professionals. I understand first-hand that business travel isn’t just part of your job, it’s a lifestyle. I spent over a decade traveling around the world for my job and have suffered through that same struggle. Now I own a business helping road warriors like you be healthy and productive on the road. Because iFly is my fave app for air travel productivity and health, I feature it in my book, Hack the Mobile Lifestyle: 6 Steps to Work Well and Play More, my Hack the Mobile Lifestyle Virtual Series and Road Warrior Secrets Unlocked webinar, they asked me to write about health hacks for air travel. I was happy to oblige.
My belief is that you can’t be healthy without being productive and you can’t be productive without being healthy, especially when you’re traveling for business. The first item we’ll cover is Airport Nutrition (Oxymoron? Yes.)
Carlson Wagonlit Travel did the most extensive research to date on 6,000 travelers and rated the stressors of travel. The highest for females were ‘routine breakers’ and included lack of access to healthy meals. The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine rated airport restaurants for one low-fat, high-fiber, cholesterol-free vegetarian entrée and found only 76% of the busiest airports offered even ONE!!! They specifically look for menu items with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.
The top five?
1) Denver International
2) Tie – Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and Chicago O’Hare
3) Tie – Ronald Reagan National and Los Angeles International
4) Tie – Baltimore/Washington International and Washington Dulles International
5) Tie – Phoenix Sky Harbor and Dallas Ft. Worth
The worst was Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport, which is unacceptable given its size. Only 53 of its 103 eateries offered healthy options. How can you plan for this? By using iFly! This is what sold me on the app and it’s minimal price of going Pro. I use it to see what restaurants are at the gate or terminal I’ll be spending time in, that way I know what my choices are.
How many of you have stopped at a sub-par restaurant and bought a chemical-filled meal only to walk 200 meters and see a restaurant you actually like with real food?
Hey Marcey, why do I feel bloated and icky when I fly?
Well Road Warrior, sodium + air pressure + sitting = water retention. Altitude affects your digestive system and causes gases to expand by 30 percent. This can explain that constipated, ‘can’t poop in the hotel room’ situation. You know what I’m talking about.
How to combat this? Look for the foods that are the least processed. It doesn’t matter what kind of plan you are following – Paleo, vegetarian, Weight Watchers, you should always be looking for the least processed option. The less processing there is, the less sodium will be in the food.
Do what you can to avoid the airplane meals, which you’re probably only getting if you’re in first class. Alternatively, just eat the fresh part of the meal, if there is anything fresh, and avoid the entrée. Altitude also affects our taste buds so airlines have to add more salt on our food for it to taste good. Plus, the average airline meal has 950 calories, which you don’t need because you’re just sitting there, and it probably doesn’t even taste good.
Humidity falls to about 20% in an airplane, which is why you get those dry eyes and throat and a bloody nose after flying. High sodium foods can make this even worse.
Having caffeine on board can compound these problems since it’s a diuretic and you’re already forced to succumb to the altitude, air pressure, sodium, and sitting. Save it for later.
Marcey, what the heck should I eat?
Stay tuned for the next installment!