1 Take chamomile tea bags so you can have a mug as soon as in-flight service begins. It can help to calm nervous flyers and is relaxing for everyone. One of the reasons we feel so tired after a long flight is that our muscles have been tensed due to sitting for so long in one place. Anything that helps our muscles relax will be a bonus.
2 Opt for the lightest choice on the menu, avoiding anything with pastry or creamy sauces, which take longer and are harder to digest than dishes such as white fish, chicken or many vegetarian options. Choose salmon or other oil-rich fish if offered – the omega-3
fats may help to counter the blood-thickening effects of flying at altitude, which may affect the risk of blood clots.
3 Swap puddings, chocolate and cheese and biscuits for fruit. You can buy fruit salads in coffee shops at airports, or bring your own berries, apples, satsumas and other easy-to-eat fruits. They’re full of vitamins and super nutrients to boost antioxidants and help counter the stressful effects of flying.
4 Nibble on a small handful of salt-free nuts if you get peckish. These are filling and give you good fats, but don’t lie heavily in your stomach.
5 Alternate drinks of orange juice and water. Orange juice provides vitamin C and other antioxidants, which may help to offset some of the stressful effects of long-haul flying. If you’re not sleeping during the flight, have a drink every half hour or so. As well as countering the dehydrating effects of the pressurised cabin, it will mean you have to nip to the loo quite often, which will help to keep your circulation going and avoid blood pooling and potentially even blood clots (request an aisle seat if you’re worried about disturbing fellow passengers).
6 Avoid tea, coffee, cola and hot chocolate if you want to sleep or if you’re an anxious flyer – revving up your nervous system won’t help. Do have a cup of tea or small coffee during the last in-flight service before landing, however, if you need to be alert when you get off the plane. If you’ll be heading straight for bed, opt for decaf or another chamomile tea.
7 Eating healthily on short-haul flights is more about having sensible snacks to hand, to avoid tucking into the unhealthy options often offered free of charge or the high-fat paid-for meals available on board. Bring a small bag of unsalted nuts or dried fruit.
8 Carry your own sugar-free gum so you can satisfy your sweet tooth and find it easier to say no to the temptation of the passing trolley, which will inevitably be packed with sweets and chocolates.
9 Take a bottle of water, however short the flight, just in case your flight keeps you waiting on the runway, is diverted or has to circle (you’ll need to buy this after you’ve been through the security checks). Being thirsty on board and having no access to a drink is stressful both physically and mentally.