How a Nutritionist Eats While Traveling

If you have children, you know that flying with youngsters is about survival. Your sole purpose while transporting your precious doll is to prevent other people within 5 feet of you from hating you by the end of the flight. So, you download your child’s favorite videos onto your iPad, and bring their favorite junky (but healthier junk) snacks to keep them happily occupied. Lately, though, I tend to forget to plan the food I will eat onboard.

I took a mid-morning flight with Scarlet yesterday and for breakfast, grabbed a Kashi chewy trail mix bar, a stick of reduced fat cheddar cheese, and some Rainier cherries.

First, I took my customary swig of coffee. Don’t you love my new SLS Hotel mug?

Once on the plane with Scarlet settled into her seat, my stomach started to grumble. I  had planned to order the cheese and fresh fruit plate that US Airways offers, but those aspirations were crushed when the flight attendant informed me that they aren’t served on shorter flights.

My only option was their snack box. I ate the can of chicken salad and crackers, plus half of the dried fruit pouch. Scarlet ate nearly a quarter of my snack. I call this the Mom Diet. You lose weight because your child eats off of your plate and finishes before you, so your mealtime ends too. I am a testament to that. I also drank a glass of water during the flight- so important to help stay hydrated amidst the dry air.

We passed only fast food joints on the way from the airport to my friend’s home, so upon arrival, I whipped up a favorite lunch for Scarlet and me – cheese quesadillas. I filled tortillas with shredded cheddar cheese and browned them over medium heat in a pan sprayed with canola oil. I served them with salsa and guacamole, alongside fresh California grapes now in season.

My friend Kim introduced me to one of the coolest things since sliced bread: Wholly Guacamole 100 calorie pouches. I used three-fourths of one.

Since I ate such a late lunch due to switching time zones, dinner seemed to sneak up quickly. Kim made these amazing sweet potato waffles. They were so flavorful, and pleasantly not-so-sweet. I coated them with spreadable butter with canola oil and scantily drizzled on light agave nectar. I stole an additional quarter waffle off of Scarlet’s plate. Reduced fat turkey sausage links and grapes completed the meal. I think I’ll be able to talk Kim out of the recipe by the end of my trip so I can share it with you.

Kim suggested we plan the next day. I thought a nice glass of Italian red wine would facilitate the discussion.

Kim’s husband made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I nibbled on four of these chocolaty cheesecake bites.

Staying up late to catch up on email, I drank a glass of low sodium V8 juice. One and a half more servings of vegetables for the day: check.

Despite my busy day of traveling with Scarlet and catching up with friends, I managed to enjoy a balanced diet with careful food choices.

Estimated calories: 330 (breakfast), 580 (lunch), 560 (dinner), 330 kcal (snacks), 100 (wine).

Which foods do you nosh on when flying the friendly skies?


Disclosure: Recently, I attended a media briefing courtesy of Campbells, maker of V8. They did not compensate me to include V8 in this post.



  1. Gail Russell says:

    So inspiring…thanks for showing that it is possible to eat yummy and healthy even when your traveling outside the comfort of your own kitchen. My husband and I are actually on a couple day road trip making our way to visit some family and between packing some healthy snacks and choosing restaurants with some healthier options, it hasn’t sabotaged my diet! Enjoy your vacation!!

    1. Michelle Dudash says:

      Thanks Gail. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  2. Gail Russell says:

    Ahh! I meant “you’re traveling” in that first sentence…grammar is a pet peeve for me, but it’s been a long day! 🙂

  3. Nina McHale says:

    I pack a larabar or vitamuffin top, a lowfat plain yogurt and banana when traveling. At least I know I’ll like what I’m having and it’s healthy. I pick up a bottle of water at the airport and I usually get a hot tea as well.

    1. Michelle Dudash says:

      Sounds like a yummy plan of attack, Nina. I love Vitamuffin’s Mint Chocolate flavor. Mmm.

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