The only thing that has the power to derail the utter excitement that comes with starting a holiday is the dreaded feeling of destabilising jetlag.
You’re in a new time zone in a different culture to your own and you have all that new cuisine to explore, but when your body is on breakfast-time and your options are anything but, it can be difficult to settle into a new routine.
There are some tricks we’ve picked up over the years that may make it easier for your body and mind to adjust to getting different nutrients and different times. Here are our top tips for what to eat when you’re jetlagged:
Fight the urge for quick fixes
The first place to start is at the airport either before you board or right after you’ve landed. It’s easy to opt for a quick burger and fries if it’s the first thing you see. But it’ll also be the first thing that will prevent your body from sleeping properly when it needs to – the high levels of salt and processed food will make you dehydrated and may make you bloated, which isn’t the best start to a holiday.
Get the right energy boosts at the right time
You might have to take strategic naps in the afternoon to stay awake until what you would consider a normal bedtime, but certain foods might help you with this.
Looking beyond the traditional espresso, you can get high-quality energy boosts from the likes of bananas if you start to crash, whilst a good helping of chicken or fresh fish will perk you up with protein or omega-3 fatty acids if you need a proper meal.
Stay hydrated at all times
Maintaining your levels of hydration during long-haul flights is one of the easiest things to forget, especially if you like to sleep your way through them.
On top of drinking water regularly, you can top up your hydration by eating plenty of fruit and vegetables like berries, melons, celery and cucumber. If you buy some fruit in the airport to take with you on the plane, you’ll still be able to meet your five-a-day recommendation, even if you are 30,000ft above the ground for most of the day!
Help your body to help itself
One common complaint that jetlagged people have is that the new body clock results in a change in bowel movements or even constipation.
Whilst it will take a little time for your body to settle back into a comfortable routine, you can help it along by eating foods that go easy on your digestive system, such as quinoa and cherries.
What not to eat and drink when you are jetlagged
It seems obvious, but most of our advice for eating and drinking when you’re travelling long distances is to replicate the same diet we’d advise on the ground: fewer sugary items and alcoholic beverages.
Over-consumption of those when you’re in ‘holiday mode’ will only serve to dehydrate you and leave you feeling lethargic, so it’s best to consume them only in moderation if you can’t resist.