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How to Maintain a Healthy Diet on Cross-Country Business Flights

Any business person that travels frequently knows the challenge of sticking with a healthy diet throughout long-distance flights. From airline meals to airport restaurants to eating on-the-go, it’s hard to avoid all the empty calories that accompany cross-country business trips.

Temptation can be hard to avoid, and the lack of options means you’re stuck with whatever food that’s in the nearest vicinity, whether it’s on the plane or at the airport. However, it is possible to keep food with poor nutritional value off of your mind.

If you’re trying to eat better on your business trips, here are some tips on how to maintain a healthy diet during cross-country flights.


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Make a Plan

The first thing you should do is check the airline and airport websites so you can figure out food options before you even leave home. Check out the airports’ restaurant listings to see if there are healthier options than fast food. Additionally, the airline should have information about their meals on their website, or you can call and request a special meal. Many have vegetarian or low-calorie options.

Pick a meal that provides around 400 calories or fewer, that provides a healthy mix of whole grains, vegetables or fruit and lean protein, like chicken. Airlines should supply you with comprehensive nutrition information of their meals. Cut out empty calories by foregoing the sauces, rolls, desserts and any sugary drinks that accompany the meal.


Stick to a Budget

On a business trip, it’s easy to splurge, especially when your company is paying for or reimbursing your travel expenses. However, try not to overindulge. Sometimes, people go into a certain mind frame when traveling that makes you crave snacks, desserts, alcoholic beverages and other high-calorie foods with little nutritional value. While it’s ok to splurge a little bit, particularly if you’re traveling with clients, set a budget and stick to it. This will help you keep a sense of moderation within your diet while on long-haul flights.


Stay Away from Airport Bars and Restaurants

Even though you most likely have time to kill, it’s crucial that you show restraint at airport bars and restaurants. It’s easy to fill downtime by grabbing an appetizer or a beer, but those calories add up. Instead, find another enjoyable way to occupy time during transfers, delays and/or layovers. Bring your computer and work on some business-related tasks, buy a new book at the airport newsstand, or fill up a mobile phone or tablet with movies, music, audiobooks and podcasts so you can keep your mind focused on something else. If you want to be really healthy, turn on your step-tracking app and take a few laps around your terminal. When traveling with associates or clients, make it clear that you’re trying to focus on eating healthy, and they should understand.


Pack Your Own Food

Any frequent flyer knows what to expect in terms of food on cross-country flights – pretzels, crackers, cookies, soda and other snacks with poor nutrition value. Instead of eating the airlines’ food, bring your own snacks and meals. This will help hold you over, not only on a long flight, but in cases of layovers or delays as well. Plus, you’ll save money on overpriced airport food.


Can I Bring Food on a Plane?

According to the TSA, solid snacks like dry cereal, crackers, cookies, sandwiches, and fruit are allowed in carry-on bags in unlimited quantities. However, do not bring food to the security checkpoint unwrapped; it must be wrapped or in a container. Additionally, leave all liquids that aren’t in amounts exceeding 3.4 ounces. Here are some healthier options, as recommended by the TSA:


  • Almonds, walnuts, other nuts
  • Trail mix
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Green salad, pasta salad, grain salad
  • Beef jerky
  • Fresh fruit
  • Dried fruit
  • Cheese sticks
  • Wraps
  • Apples and peanut butter
  • Popcorn


If you absolutely must eat airline food, always assume that the default options will be chock-full of carbohydrates, sodium, and low in protein, fiber and nutrients. That’s why it’s a good idea to bring high-protein nuts, beef jerky, even chickpeas.


Stay hydrated

The advantages of staying hydrated are multifold – it helps flush waste from the body, balances metabolism and makes you feel fuller for longer. Whenever you fly long distances, bring your own refillable water bottle or thermos so you always have a supply of fresh water. You can also bring tea bags along in your carry-on should you get the urge for something tastier. Always avoid the complimentary, sugar-filled drinks that the airlines provide, as those are sure to make your calorie intake skyrocket.



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Contact Inflight Pilot Training Today!

Our team of expert flight instructors can help you achieve your pilot’s certification so you can travel how you please.


Inflight Pilot Training is a leading flight instruction company in Minnesota. With a reputable training program and an extensive roster of highly skilled, certified flight instructors, it’s our goal to help you achieve the certification you want. With our personalized, results-oriented approach, you can take control of your business trips.


For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.