Monday, November 12, 2012

Holiday Help!


With the holiday season officially in swing, most of us will find ourselves traveling a fair bit in the near future. As part of my Holiday Help! series, I'll offer suggestions on how to handle this hectic time and how to best beat travel bloat!

First up, let's talk travel by plane. If you don't already know, I'm a flight attendant so even outside of the holiday season, I spend an insane amount of time in airports and airplanes. And it doesn't help that I'm based out of Vancouver, Canada but live in Texas! So if anyone knows how to handle the potential pitfalls of air travel on your health efforts, it's me! Here are my ways of coping.

First off, bring your own food. Even if you do happen to be on one of the few airlines still serving food (or you're lucky enough to be seated in first class!), airline meals will wreak havoc on healthy diet. The casserole portion alone (that's the beef or chicken? part) usually weigh in at between 800 and 1000 calories. And the sodium levels are insane since they are compensating for your reduced ability to taste as a result of being at a high altitude. Pack nuts, bananas, celery and carrots or hummus and crackers. Bring an instant oatmeal pack and some protein powder and you can have an easy meal with just a little water!

If you have to eat from the airport, just do your best. Starbucks has protein packs with cheese, eggs and fruit. They also often have salads or cut up veggies (skip their ranch dressing though, it's packed sign saturated fats). Even McDonalds has salads (opt for grilled chicken and light dressing) and yogurt parfaits.

At the airport, walk and stand, don't sit! You're about to being sitting very still for a long time in a metal tube. Keep moving now!

When you get on the plane, and you're stuck in your seat, do butt clenches! I'm serious! You're not doing anything else are you? When the flight attendants aren't in the aisle, walk around a bit but please don't linger or stretch in the galley! It's the only space we have to serve 100+ people!

And most importantly, stay hydrated! If the flight attendants come by offering water, always say yes. Any time we come by with beverages, get at least one glass of water. Skip the sodas which are full of sugar and dehydrate you more. Opt for herbal teas and tons of water! And feel free to say yes to the airline cookies, in most cases they'll cost you less than 150 calories.

How do you survive plane travel? What are your go-to snack items?

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