Snacking Tips from Road Warriors: Flight Attendant

(Image credit: Courtesy of Jana Kopova)

Snacks are an essential part of travel. They keep hunger — and impulsive, hanger-driven decisions — at bay, sustaining long days on the road (or on your feet). They also offer a tiny piece of home, whether it’s the familiarity of a pack of peanut M&Ms when you’re in a foreign country or the knowledge that you’ve got your go-to granola handy for breakfast.

With snacks and travel on our mind this month, we reached out to five road warriors, people who are away from home as often as not. They’ve got snacking down to a science — and they’re sharing their tried-and-true tips.

After a year in the air, flight attendant Jana Kopová has learned a thing or two about being on the go, and her strategy for in-flight eating and snacking is simple: Be prepared for anything. “It’s better to be ready than to rely on what you will get in the aircraft,” she says.

We talked to Jana to find out how she manages to eat well, even on a 16-hour flight. If you’re serious about food, too (and we suspect you are), read on.

Jana’s Snacking Tips

1. Mix and match.

Jana begins her travel prep by asking herself a few simple questions. Before each flight, Jana says, “I just think, ‘Okay, we will fly at night, so how many meals do I need? What will I eat?'” She then packs her bag with simple foods, like pre-cut vegetables, cans of tuna, or fruit, and uses the food available on the plane to supplement.

She also likes to combine the food she brought with her with what’s available on the aircraft. “For example, I take a salmon fillet from the food on the plane and put it on the salad I brought from home,” Jana explains.

2. Make your own porridge.

Jana also brings a porridge mixture that she can “cook” with hot water once she’s in the air. “Basically it’s a mix of flakes: rice, millet, buckwheat, seeds, with some protein [powder] and some seeds like chia, flax, pumpkin, sunflower — whatever I have,” Jana says. “I add banana on the plane; we always have some bananas and apples.”

3. BYO water bottle.

“Sometimes I do not understand why [passengers] do not take water with them,” says Jana. While you may need to ditch your bottled water before you go through security, she recommends purchasing a big bottle to bring on the plane or, better yet, investing in a reusable bottle that you can fill up from fountains in the airport or aboard the aircraft.

Jana likes to spruce her water up with lemon slices and to make tea from sachets she brings from home. It’s an easy way to keep yourself hydrated (and make your fellow passengers jealous).

4. Take it easy on the booze.

That can be a hard one, Jana says, explaining that “some people just keep drinking.” And she sympathizes: “I actually understand why. Because sometimes it’s so boring.”

What snacks do you bring on flights? Share in the comments!