1. Eat lean protein
Airline food offerings can be meager, so bring meals with you for the best options. Include lean protein foods such as boneless, skinless chicken; turkey breast; hard-boiled egg whites; and lean fish such as tuna, says Charles Platkin, Ph.D., editor of DietDetective.com. "Fat will make you tired and groggy," Platkin explains, while protein will give you energy and keep you feeling full. (Consider using a freezer pack to keep food cool.)
Other good sources of protein include roasted edamame, lean turkey or beef jerky, as well as those peel-and-eat containers of tuna or salmon. (Warning: They can be smelly.) Platkin advises avoiding processed and fried food, sugary items and white bread, because those foods may make you feel tired, unsettled and unsatisfied.
2. Drink water
Pack a bottle and fill it after you go through security or buy a bottle on the concourse, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian in Chicago and the author of The Flexitarian Diet. She says travelers should stay hydrated "before, during and after a flight" to ease jet lag and fatigue.
Platkin points out that "skin tone improves with adequate hydration," and that drinking plenty of water will help you look fresh when you land. Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Both can be dehydrating and can interfere with your sleep cycle, says Platkin. Alcohol also adds calories and "will make you feel sluggish."
3. Enjoy fruits and veggies
Fruit and vegetables are full of water (for that all-important hydration), and fruit has healthy sugars. If you didn't raid your fridge for fresh produce before leaving home, you can find healthy options at many airports, though it might take a few minutes to explore beyond the rows of fast-food restaurants. Blatner says, "I've seen packs of carrots with dip [and] bowls of apples and oranges." Cibo Express Gourmet Market stores, now in several airports across the country (Minneapolis, Chicago and Orlando included), offer great-for-you prepared foods like kale and vegan taco salads, and some even have extensive salad bars.
If you can't find anything fresh, Platkin prefers freeze-dried fruits over dried, because dried have a high concentration of sugar and not a lot of fiber, "so they're not the best bang for your buck."