Survival Guide: Airline Snacking

I just came across this awesome website from the Food Detective that offers food stats on all the major airlines and the amount of walking you’d need to do to burn it all off. Since I know that many of you will be traveling this holiday season I thought I’d help you all out by sharing it.

Here’s the basic rundown in case you don’t want to read the entire thing:

- Aside from Jet Blue being an awesome airline to travel, they were also really helpful on providing info on their snack items, which shows that they think about these things. American Airlines, Continental, and United Airlines were also pretty helpful. But, it was United Airlines that came in as the number one choice for healthy food options.

- Virgin America, Delta, and U.S. Airways were ranked as the worst. They were very reluctant to give out information, which implies your health isn’t all that important to them.

- Your best choices when flying these airlines:
* United Airlines – If you need just a snack, go for the Tapas snack box or the Lite snack box. If you’re flying longer than 3 hours and need a meal, go for the Turkey Sandwich (but skip the chips), the Fruit and Cheese Tray, or the Chicken Caesar Salad. For breakfast, stick with the smoothie or yogurt parfait. And as for the A La Carte snacks (Pringles, bread, or chocolate bar) definitely skip those!

* Jet Blue – If you’re flying less than 3 hours choose the nuts. They’re good for you and the healthy fats and protein will help keep you satisfied for a while. If you’re flying longer than 3 hours choose the Shape Up meal for sure!

* American Airlines – While AA doesn’t have great choices, stick with the Cheese & Cracker Snack Tray. Just be sure to skip the crackers, because with raisins will give you enough carbs, but with better nutrition. If you’re flying longer than 3 hours, choose the Boston Market Chicken Caesar Salad, but be sure to use only half of the dressing.

* Delta – Their individual snacks aren’t all that great, but if you’re flying less than 3 hours and don’t have a meal option go for the pretzels or the peanuts. The nuts are higher in calories, but may be more filling. If you’re flying longer than 3 hours, stick with the Breakfast Snack. If that’s not available though, choose the Fruit and Cheese Plate, but skip the crackers. And, obviously the Veggies and Ranch is low in calories, but it might not tide you over.

* Continental – None of their choices are all the great, but if you’re flying longer than 3 hours go for the Parfait or the Grilled Chicken Spinach Salad (use half the dressing though).

* Southwest – The nuts are the only way to go.

* Virgin America – For a small snack, stick with the PopChips or yumBar, and for larger snack, go for the Veggies & Hummus box. If it’s a meal you need though, choose the Protein Meal or the Homestyle Chicken Sandwich.

* U.S. Airways – Go for the CafePlus, but don’t eat the cookies (save them for later when you’re sweet tooth attacks).

Ask Dani – Surviving Vacation

Ahhhhhhhh, vacation.

Dear Dani,

I’m going away for July 4th weekend and am worried about how I’m going to eat healthy and stay active while I’m away. I’m not sure what’s around me, so I’m worried that I’m going to slip up and eat whatever’s around. And the people who I’m going with aren’t too conscious of their weight like I am. I don’t want to be too crazy about it, but I also don’t want to lose control and throw away all my hard work. Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks, Tempted Traveler

Dear Tempted Traveler,

Going on vacation is so exciting, but it can also be stressful when you’re worried about your eating. The first thing I’m going to tell you is not to stress out about it too much. It’s just a weekend, so nothing that you do can be too damaging. This doesn’t mean that you should completely let go of everything, but allow yourself to indulge and enjoy yourself a little bit. This isn’t a time to lose weight, rather focus on just maintaining.

Here are my 5 tips that you can take with you:

1. Make A List – Before I go on a vacation or sit down to a huge meal with family and friends I like to put together a little “Survival Cheat Sheet”. I simply write down a list of things that will help me make the right choices, such as reminding myself to ask for help from someone supportive if I need it, and walking away from the table when I’m done eating, so that I don’t overeat. I also jot a few things down that remind me why I want to stay on track. For instance, I need to remind myself that I feel so much better when I don’t overindulge and that if I do it’s only going to make me feel bad.
Make sure to put this on your list: Ask yourself “what purpose is this serving me?”. Before you give into something tempting or feel lazy and don’t want to work out ask yourself this one question. If your answer is legitimately that you want to indulge this one time and that you won’t be mad at yourself later then go for it this once. But, if your answer is that it serves no purpose other than to have some immediate gratification and then be upset later, then you know that you don’t really want to give in.
Take this list with you and look to it when you need some extra support.

2. Have A Battle Plan – Before you leave for your vacation do an internet search of markets and restaurants near where you’re staying. That way when you get to your destination you won’t feel tempted to eat the first thing that you see. You can stock up on good foods at the market and know where to go for a nice night out. Most restaurants have full menus online, so you can choose the place that has the best options for you.

3. Be “That Customer” – When eating out don’t be shy about asking the waiter for some healthier. Don’t worry about being annoying. If you’re nice about it they won’t mind too much. I always start by making a joke about how “I’m sorry, but I’m going to be “that customer” tonight”. It usually lightens things up and then I can ask for what I want, such as dressing on the side, an egg white omelette made “dry” instead of with a ton of oil or butter, or even to have my salmon baked instead of fried. Be sure to leave a nice tip too.

4. Pack Your Bags – Of course you’re going to pack your bags, but what I mean is to make sure you’re well equipped for your getaway. Just in case you don’t have time to buy food or you need something in a pinch pack some things to take with you. Some things that pack nicely are Kashi Crunchy bars and instant oatmeal. Even some part-skim cheese sticks and yogurts (secured safely in a Ziploc bag) will hold well in cargo (it’s freezing down there!).
And don’t forget workout clothes, so that you set the tone for your trip. Packing your Lulu Lemons and sneakers will remind you to make time for your workouts while you’re away. Resistance bands and a jump rope are super light, take up next to no room, and are like a full gym in a bag.

5. Be Kind To Yourself – Vacation is a time to let go a bit and not be so hard on yourself. Do your best to stay on track, but also cut yourself some slack. If you slip up, don’t worry about it, you’ll get back up. Allow yourself to enjoy the moment, because you don’t always get a break. Sometimes allowing yourself some time to go a bit easier on yourself renews your vigor for later. You can’t always be perfect, so take some time to enjoy yourself.

Bon Voyage!

Have a question that needs answering? Send ‘em in! Every Thursday I’ll be answering a new question, and it might just be yours!