Long flights can be stressful and tiring, especially if you're traveling with your kids. It's hard enough to stay comfortable, let alone eat healthy foods during the flight. This can leave your body needing fluids, nutrients, protein and carbohydrates. After a long flight, it's important to plan a dinner that provides all of these elements to get your family's bodies back on track.
Air travel causes dehydration, and this is amplified on long flights. While drinking water during the flight is ideal, it can be difficult and result in many trips to the bathroom. Eating a dinner with plenty of hydrating foods can help replenish fluids lost during the flight. Fruits and vegetables are both hydrating and make healthy side dishes for a dinner after a long flight. They also supply plenty of nutrients. Among the most hydrating are watermelon, apples, grapefruit and lettuce. Other good choices for hydration include bell pepper, celery, oranges, cucumber, strawberries and tomatoes. Tempt your kids to eat hydrating vegetables by providing a creamy dip on the side.
Sitting on a plane doesn't seem like it should be a tiring activity, but it is. Combine that with the jet lag often experienced on long flights, and exhaustion can take over. Slow-digesting protein can help combat this effect. Look for lean meats like poultry or pork. Grilled or baked fish is also a good choice. A tomato stuffed with creamy tuna salad, for example, can help rehydrate and provide a punch of protein to help combat the effects of a long flight.
Carbohydrates can provide instant energy. The problem, however, is that simple carbohydrates like sugar and white flour can cause a sudden drop in energy after the rush is over. Complex carbohydrates offer energy without the roller coaster ride. Combined with protein, they provide consistent energy to help counteract jet lag and the effects of a long flight. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods that contain whole grains, like whole wheat bread, crackers, brown rice, whole grain pasta, oatmeal and rye bread. For a kid-friendly carb rich meal, try a simple combination of whole grain pasta, tuna, broccoli, cherry tomatoes and ranch dressing.
For many travelers, the stress of a long flight combined with jet lag can result in a queasy or upset stomach. While it's important to eat and provide the body with fluids and energy, it can be difficult to consume a full dinner with an upset stomach. Combine stomach-soothing foods with a glass of water. Bananas, toast without butter, applesauce and rice are gentle on the stomach. Other soothing foods include oatmeal, yogurt, pasta without sauce, clear-broth soup and baked potato without any toppings. Avoid fatty or fried foods as well as any that contain high amounts of citric acid, such as oranges and tomatoes.