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Nutrition Trips for Airline Travel

If your son or daughter is traveling by air to a tournament, here are some nutrition tips to get the most of the experience, especially if he or she is going to a foreign country.

Air Travel

Traveling by air presents some unique nutritional challenges for the youth athlete trying to maintain a diet high in carbohydrates and fluids, moderate in protein and low in fat:

  • Dehydration. The pressurization of the cabin air increases fluid losses, so dehydration can be a problem when the flight lasts several hours or longer. In fact, dehydration is thought to contribute to jetlag. Consuming beverages containing caffeine increases the risk of dehydration because of the diuretic nature of such beverages. The athlete should ingest plenty of water, sports drinks, and fruit juices to replace fluid losses.Pretzel
  • High fat meals. Gone are the days when you could count on being served a meal during flights. If a meal is being served, request a low-fat or vegetarian meal in advance. 
  • Bring along high-carbohydrate, low fat snacks. Athletes can also bring high-carbohydrate, low-fat snacks with them on the plane. If a meal is not provided, airport concession stands provide some healthy snacks such as soft pretzels, popcorn (without butter), bagels, fruit/vegetable plates, juice, and frozen yogurt. Most airports also have family-style and fast-food restaurants can also be places serving nutritious meals.

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