We live in a day and age when plane travel makes it possible to travel great distances in a relatively short period of time.   In the U.S. and Canada we can jet from coast-to-coast in as little as five hours.

As wonderful as this is, even a short two-hour flight can leave you without something to eat for several hours unless you plan ahead.  If you consider possible travel delays, it could be even longer.

Given how important it is to keep our energy up and our hunger down when traveling, a little research and planning can make the difference between feeling great or feeling lousy.

“Sounds good,” you say.  “I’m committed to feeling great, but I have no idea where to start.”

Follow me…..I’ll take you there, step-by-step.

Leaving on a Jet Plane Planner

In order to help you feel your best on your next plane trip, I have created the Leaving on a Jet Plane Planner. The planner walks you through each step, from start to finish, and is packed with insider tips and tricks.

Print it out, fill it in, and use it for each and every trip.

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The three main steps are:

  1. 1. Determine how long you might be without food.
    This involves calculating the number of hours it will be from the time you leave home until you arrive at your destination.
    Click here to use the planner to calculate your total time.
  1. 2. Calculate how many meals and snacks you need to prepare for.
    In order to prevent hunger, you need to eat every 2-3 hours.
    A simple to use chart in the planner tells you how many meals & snacks to plan for. Check out the Feel Great Travel Snack Kit for excellent tips and way to always have healthy snacks on hand!
  1. 3. Locate where and what you will eat.
    Food can be brought from home, purchased at the airport, or purchased on the plane.
    This Airport Food Guide will help you locate healthy food at any airport.

Now that you are familiar with the steps, let’s put them into action.

You are flying from your Seattle home to stay with your Aunt Betsy in Denver.  Because she loves to cook—and spoil you—she will have a delicious meal ready for you when you arrive, complete with all your cousins and their families.  It’s going to be quite a welcome!

Leaving on a Jet Plane Healthy Eating InfographicStep #1—Determine how long you could be without food.

Your 2½ hour flight leaves Sea-Tac at 1:00 pm and arrives at Denver International at 4:30 pm (one hour time change).

It’s an hour ride to the airport and you plan to arrive 1½ hours before your flight.  That means you’ll leave home at 10:30 to arrive at the airport by 11:30.

You will land in Denver at 4:30, but by the time you get your bags, your rental car, and fight the rush hour traffic, you won’t arrive at Aunt Betsy’s until 6:30.

As you can see, it will be seven hours from the time you leave home until you eat dinner with Aunt Betsy and all the gang.

Step #2:  How many meals and snacks do you need to prepare for?

Since it’s best to eat every 2-3 hours, you’ll need to eat before you leave for the airport, have lunch before you get on the plane, and carry 2 snacks with you.  You probably only need one snack, but it’s best to be prepared with an extra one in case there are delays.

Step #3:  What and where will you eat?

Although the flight leaves at 1:00, boarding is at 12:30.  That gives you one hour to check your bags, go through security, and eat or grab a to-go lunch.

Using your Airport Food Guide, you’ve located a restaurant with plenty of healthy choices—salads with protein, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, fruit, fresh veggies, and sealed bags of cooked chicken.

Security is a breeze, so you are able to eat your lunch there.  As you munch on your yummy salad with extra chicken, you spot fabulous artisan cheese and meat plates being served up at the wine and cheese shop next door.

Because you were short on time before you left, you didn’t get a chance to pack snacks in your Feel Great Travel Snack Kit.  But, no worries, you always bring it with you, knowing you can stock it along the way.

You dash over for a to-go cheese and meat plate, fill a ziplock bag with ice, drop everything in your kit, and head for the gate.

Cruising at 30,000 Feet

At 1:00 the plane takes off as planned and you dive into your book.  You are aware that you should have a snack at 3:00, so you set your phone alarm to remind you.  When 3:00 arrives, you dip into the scrumptious cheese, meat, nuts, and fruit that you have with you.

Thirty minutes later the plane lands.  You reset your watch to Denver time (4:30 pm) and head off to claim your bags, pick up your rental car, and get on the road.  Even though it’s a slog on the freeway, you are calm and alert.

A little over an hour later, you arrive at Aunt Betsy’s.  “It’s good to see you,” says Aunt Betsy as she gives you one of her giant hugs.  Then she zooms out for a better view.  “You look fabulous!” she exclaims.

The effort you made to eat healthy has paid off!  Not only do you feel fantastic, but others notice that extra spark of vitality that comes from healthy eating.

Jetting Back Home

After a fabulous time with Aunt Betsy, it’s time to head back to Seattle.

On past trips, you’ve been so caught up in the excitement and all the myriad details that you’ve overlooked food planning for the flight home.  Those are the times when you’ve succumbed to the siren sound of the doughnuts.  Given how well you’ve eaten on the rest of the trip, it’s been a bitter pill to swallow.

But not this time. 

When you arrived at Denver International three days ago, you scoped out a place to get a savory steak and roasted vegetables for dinner, so all you have to do is show up there.  And you packed a snack at Aunt Betsy’s, so your in-flight snack is covered.

Keeping the focus pays off.  As you pull into your driveway, you congratulate yourself on a job well done.

Not only do you arrive home feeling great, you’re not dragging the extra baggage of regrets.

But it isn’t just this trip that you can count among your successes.   You are one step closer to making this a routine habit on every trip—one that will pay off in the months and years to come.

When Traveling By Plane Remember This: 

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On each and every trip:


Healthy travels! And I’d love to hear how my guide has worked out for you. Leave me a comment below. And don’t forget to share it with your healthy traveling friends!

– Sandra Christensen