Unless you’re on a super fancy flight, airplane food generally consists of a mediocre snack or small meal to hold you over until you land at your destination. After spending the day packing and preparing for your trip, you may find yourself ready to eat whatever the flight attendants have to offer. But there are actually a few explanations for why eating food provided by your airline may be a bad idea.
Here are three reasons why it may be best to either eat before your departure, pack a sack or skip the meal altogether while flying.
The food could be unhealthy.
Forbes contributor Julie Wilcox came up with a list of unhealthy factors in airplane food. The food is oftentimes loaded with sodium to add flavor and also high in calories to make passengers feel fuller off of less food. She also adds that you could get sick from bacteria and other pollutants that sometimes end up in meals served thousands of miles in the air. Instead of taking your chances, Wilcox has a better option: “If your flight is three hours or less I suggest that you eat before you leave or wait until you arrive at your destination.”
The food may make jet lag worse.
The Science journal published a study in 2008 that found skipping a meal during your flight may help you feel less sluggish when adjusting to a different time zone.
“Normally, the body’s natural circadian clock in the brain dictates when to wake, eat and sleep, all in response to light,” Reuters reported. “But it seems a second clock takes over when food is scarce, and manipulating this clock might help travelers adjust to new time zones.
You’ll have less room for enjoying the foods at your destination.
Television personality and chef Anthony Bourdain says that on shorter flights, he prefers to keep his stomach empty until he lands.
“No one has ever felt better after eating plane food,” Bourdain told Bon Appetit. “I think people only eat it because they’re bored. I don’t eat on planes. I like to arrive hungry.”
Of course, Bourdain is paid to go to exotic places and eat the area’s finest foods, but even an average traveler could benefit from saving room in their stomachs to eat the more adventurous cuisine that’s unique to their destination.