Summer 2022 is expected to be the busiest travel season ever! The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) predicts that U.S. travel and tourism will exceed pre-pandemic levels by 6.2%. Memphis International Airport opened its new B-concourse earlier this year, and Memphis Nutrition Group has your guide for tackling fueling and hydration in flight this travel season.
- Hydration in flight depends on a few factors: flight length, cabin humidity, and elevation. Cabin humidity can be as low as 10 – 15%. For reference, the humidity in the Sahara Desert is 25%, and the average humidity in Memphis, TN, is 67%…Pass the Water!
- Fluid loss is approximately 3-10 ounces per hour. For example, on a 10-hour international flight, you could lose 1.6– 2 liters of water on average. Follow this rule of thumb: Plan to drink 8 ounces (1 cup) of fluid per hour of in-flight time to avoid dehydration.
- Hydration Supplements may be beneficial during travel. Products such as Right Stuff, Propel, Drip Drop, and UCAN hydration sticks provide electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and calcium.
- Pro-tip: Look for water bottle filling stations after TSA screening (usually near the bathrooms).
- Consuming a variety of fluids can make staying hydrated easier and more enjoyable. Consider sipping Propel, coconut water, chocolate milk, iced tea, or ginger ale.
Do you ever say, “I’ll grab a meal/snack when I land,” or “if dinner with friends is at 6:30 p.m, I’ll just skip eating lunch to avoid ruining my dinner”? Unfortunately, this mindset can leave you feeling lethargic and irritable due to shifts in blood sugar. Here are some strategies for fueling well to ensure you’ll feel well when you arrive at your destination.
- Honor your Hunger
- Eat based on your time zone.
- Fuel early: Eat within 1-1.5 hour(s) of waking up.
- Stay Consistent: Have a meal or snack every 3-4 hours, regardless of when everyone else is eating. Meals should include carbohydrates, protein, veggies/fruit, and fat. Snacks should consist of a combination of 2-3 of these components.
- When it comes to food safety, follow the “Two-Hour Purchase” rule: Eat any refrigerated or cooked foods you’ve ordered or purchased at the airport, including sandwiches, within two hours of purchase time to prevent food-borne bacteria from multiplying.
- Bloating, gas, and constipation can occur when traveling and during times of high stress. If you’re prone to Gl issues when you travel, consider taking a probiotic or choosing probiotic-containing foods and beverages to keep your gut functioning well.
With a bit of planning and preparation, you can pack meals and snacks to eat at the airport, saving your pennies for delicious restaurants at your destination. Not to worry if there’s no time to pack anything but your suitcase! The new concourse at Memphis International Airport includes a wide variety of brandnew restaurant and snack options! Here’s a quick list to spark ideas for piecing meals and snacks together or purchasing something quick and easy:
- Turkey and cheese wrap + Fruit + Chips
- Chicken burritos or burrito bowls
- Avocado toast topped with an egg + Fruit + Latte
- Salad with an animal or plant protein like chicken, quinoa, beans, or salmon + Crackers
- Turkey or Chicken Burger + Fruit Cup
- Breakfast Sandwiches with egg, cheese, and ham + Fruit
- PB&J sandwich with fruit and yogurt
- Apple + Peanut Butter Packet
- Mini Popcorn Bags + Beef Jerky
- Pretzels + Mini Hummus Container
- Protein bars (Luna, Quest, Bobo’s, Kind, Rx)
- Pears + Crunchy Chickpea Snacks • Crackers + Babybel Cheese
- Roasted Pistachios + Grapes • Dried fruit + nuts (aka trail mix)
- Fruit bars + Hardboiled Eggs • DIY Meat, Cheese, and Cracker Box
- Tuna packets + Crackers
- Mini Stroopwafels + Milk
- Protein Shakes (Chobani, Siggi’s, Fairlife)
- Lenny & Larry’s Complete Cookie
- Dark chocolate-covered fruit or almonds + Yogurt
Remember to stick to normal and familiar foods on travel days, and be sure to check-in and listen to your body throughout the trip!
By Alisha Parker, MS, RDN, LDN