Healthy Vegetarian Travels

Posted on June 28, 2014
Written by Diana Cullum-Dugan, RDN, LDN


Dialing up our weekly call, Suzy client laments, “I’m on a plane so much this week, how am I supposed to feel good about my body?”  Having more frequent flyer miles than a pilot, she knows full well the effects of flying:  bloating, water weight gain, stiffness and lethargy.

And it makes her incredibly anxious to feel a victim to fall prey to high fat, high sodium and sugar options.  What to do?

Having a plan is key. Suzy and I talked about deciding beforehand what is the best flying fare so she can figure out where to get those foods – from home, a pre-packed breakfast or lunch is a take-on to be grateful for when you’re doing an OJ Simpson through the terminal headed for a long flight.

After designing a breakfast at home that included fruit and peanut or almond butter on a toasted whole wheat English muffin, we logged onto the website of her airport.  Suzy gleefully shouted out when she saw the list of restaurants in her terminal. And she beat me to their menu – there, she made a sound choice for lunch on board.

For example, UFood is popping up in many airports and sports a fresh and filling veggie burger.  Wholesome Tofusion, a blend of brown rice, veggies and sauteed tofu carries on well as do their multiple salads and hi-protein shakes.  Even Starbucks’ oatmeal, dried fruit and nuts can be carried on – boarding time is enough for the dried fruit to soften.

If you have time for a sit-down meal, check out chain restaurants, they often sound like huts dishing out mongo portions of salt, carbs and fat, but if you look closely, they have sides of steamed veggies, multiple salads (with dressing on the side and fat-filled salty toppings like croutons and cheese left off), and a spicy black bean burger (no grilled butter on the bun please).  Ask for grilled options without high fat sauces – and be prepared to be surprised by a Yes, we can do that!

Choose a low-fat, low-sugar protein bar, add soy yogurt or almond milk and fresh fruit for morning meals. Pack your favorite cold cereal in a quart-sized freezer bag and buy soymilk at the airport. When ready to eat, simply pour your milk alternate into the baggie, and when finished, the plastic spoon tucks into the bag and is zipped to the trash.  Carry shelled nuts always ready to eat and keep you full.

Drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol, and watch out for salty snacks like chips, pretzels and crackers.  Avoid sugary high-fat treats like brownies and cookies and opt for something you bring on board. Sit back now and enjoy the flight.