What not to eat before a flight

Here are some foods to avoid the next time you fly.

What not to eat before a flight

The thought of airplane food may make you cringe, so the notion of eating before a flight can often be appealing. Airport food courts mostly offer greasy junk food fare which is often better to avoid. Eating the wrong foods before embarking on a flight could give you more to deal with than a screaming baby or the smelly feet of the shoeless passenger next to you. The next time you’re taking off on a trip, it may be wise to steer clear of these types of foods.

Big chain fast food (ie: McDonald’s)

Greasy fast foods contains high levels of sodium and saturated fats, which may not digest well at 37,000 feet. Apart from digestion problems, sitting immobile in a pressurised cabin hinders blood flow, which can lead to swollen feet or even deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Whilst there is no direct link between fast food and DVT, it’s probably a combination best avoided.

Gassy foods

It’s also best to avoid foods which encourage bloating. Fried foods are the obvious culprits, but some healthy foods like onions, cauliflower, cabbage and baked beans also can make you feel like you might pop once you’re flying high in a pressurised cabin.


Many experienced flyers will swear that having a drink or two in the airport lounge calms their nerves before a flight. They may even say that alcohol helps them to sleep on the plane. Everyone is different. Associate Professor of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, Eric Rimm, has said: "Since there's less water in your blood when you're dehydrated, the concentration of alcohol will be slightly higher, leading to quicker intoxication and increased potential for a hangover." If you want to knock back a few drinks on the plane, make sure you drink plenty of water as well.

Carbonated drinks

Carbonated beverages can contribute to bloating and cramping, which in turn can impede digestion. They can also cause wind and may have a diuretic effect.


A study published in the Journal of Science suggests that fasting for about 16 hours before a long flight could actually help to fend off jet lag. This study has only been conducted on lab rats and there has been no actual link found in humans, but if you suffer from bad jet lag it may be worth considering fasting before your flight.

It’s hard to know what is good to eat before or even during a flight, however, it seems best to avoid the trifecta of grease, alcohol and carbonation. The most important thing is to make sure you drink plenty of water to aid digestion and fight in-flight dehydration.

You can read more about this on IndependentTraveler.com


    To make a comment, please register or login
    20th Oct 2014
    I boarded Hungry as an Alligator !! I couldn't find a Halal Sao with Vegemite anywhere ??
    ming chew
    20th Oct 2014
    WTF u need a halal Sao? Bring yr own food. Why do others need commonly available food to be halal? Your type of food is discriminating.
    20th Oct 2014
    OOW !! That's Naughty !! I Might get Offended ?
    20th Oct 2014
    Ming Chew : I think you've missed particolor's humour here!
    Please don't get all chewed up. What do you mean by 'discriminating'?
    21st Oct 2014
    Byron Bay Anzac Cookies!
    20th Oct 2014
    Your chances of a pork sandwich would have been even slimmer mate
    20th Oct 2014
    I couldn't even get a Ham Sandwich aboard My Emirates Flight ??
    20th Oct 2014
    I would like to ask passengers to avoid foods with lots of garlic - my flight was spoilt by the horrible stench of another passenger
    20th Oct 2014
    But the Flight was much more pleasant after our Stop Over in Italy !!
    20th Oct 2014
    Nothing I dread more is/are noisy kids behind me kicking my seat.
    20th Oct 2014
    Next time I want to fly overseas with a case full of rats, I'll bear that in mind - hate them to have jet lag. For normal trips though the study proves nothing except the fatuousness and cruelty of the researchers.
    20th Oct 2014
    Agreed. The crazy and cruel things these 'researchers' think up just to keep themselves on the payroll. Their cruelty knows no bounds.
    Pass the Ductape
    20th Oct 2014
    Best advise from a cousin of mine. Best thing is to avoid a huge feed of NZ paua - unless you have dibs on the toilet cubicle!

    20th Oct 2014
    I never eat the food or drink in airports. The day before a long flight I drink lots of water and do a fair bit of walking. Always take those disinfectant wipes and wipe down the handrests etc when I get on board and useful for keeping hands clean during the flight.
    20th Oct 2014
    Singing..Roll A Bowl A Bowl a Penny a Ball !!

    20th Oct 2014
    A nice juicy steak, washed down with a few glasses on red.

    It'll be a good 2 hours on an international flight before you get served a meal, so until just enough time to knock off a few more glasses.

    When meal arrives, rinse and repeat.

    5 hours before touchdown, grab some shut-eye.

    That way - you get off the plane fresh as a daisy
    2nd Nov 2014
    Best put bread on that list. Fills you full of gas too,

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