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Six Weeks to Summer Series: Day 1 – Five-Hour Coach Flight + Airport Time

For Day 1 of this 42-day series on Six Weeks to Summer: A Traveler’s Fitness Plan, I share how I survived healthfully on a five-hour coach flight and enjoyed a great snack an airport lounge.

As I begin to write this, I am aboard a United flight from Orlando to San Francisco, sitting in coach for this 5-hour morning flight. I will have time in the SFO airport before boarding a 16-hour flight to Hong Kong. Door to door, it’s a 30-hour trip.

Planning for unhealthy meal offerings in coach (no chance of an upgrade on this flight), I prepared these items yesterday while I was at home:

Sweet potato chunks, roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper (bring a plastic fork from home or grab one from a fast-food place at the airport)
Smoked salmon slices (4 oz)

I also always have a food supply in my laptop bag and today’s stash includes:

Paleo gluten-free protein bar
Grass-Fed beef jerky sticks
Plastic bag with walnuts and brazil nuts
Green tea bags

Always having some type of food with me, I do not worry about getting to the starving point where I can quickly succumb to bad food decisions. When I don’t have a snack or two with me, somehow a bag of potato chips magically appears in my hands. Does this ever happen to you?

I know I could have requested a special meal on the United flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong prior to today’s flight, but I chose not to. Instead, I will choose the meal with the best choice for protein and vegetables. I will be in BusinessFirst on the flight to Hong Kong so am fortunate to have a menu of items to choose from. I’ll skip the bread and dessert and leave any potatoes or rice to the side.

I am trying to follow an eating style of primarily protein, veggies, nuts, fruits and healthy fats with as little gluten, dairy, soy, corn or sugar as possible. Oh, this will be fun on the cruise to Japan – I love sushi! Anyway, asking an airline for a special meal with all these requirements isn’t gong to happen. I’d end up with just a piece of fruit on my plate!

I have my pedometer tracking device (more about this in a future post) on my arm as airport days are usually great for getting lots of steps in. I’d like to achieve 10,000 steps each day though that’s a stretch on many days. So I’ve set my goal at still a high target though something I can be more successful at – 8,000 steps each day.

I am drinking lots of water while in-flight. I had a cup of black coffee on the way to the airport (no way am I giving up my coffee!) and another cup while at the United Club lounge before I boarded my flight. Now it’s all aqua, aqua, aqua. Or maybe I should say aqua, pee, aqua, pee, aqua, pee. But hey, we all know it’s good to walk around while in-flight to ward off DVT (deep vein thrombosis).

I ate the smoked salmon within the first hour of the flight since I didn’t want this food to be out of refrigeration much longer than it already had been. The sweet potatoes were eaten around the 4-hour mark.

* * * *

Arriving into the San Francisco airport, I got a lot of steps in by walking to the international terminal. This is a beautiful terminal with lots of high-end stores and several restaurants. Rather than look for a healthy meal at one of these restaurants, I’m visiting United Club’s First Class lounge. Oo la la! Night and day from a regular United Club.

Fresh veggies were available so I started with a few of these along with a cup of hot water with lemon slices (I tried not to look at the wine offerings … why tempt myself?). Then the staff brought out cold jumbo shrimp and beef slices – who can say no to healthy protein? Along with olives and pickles, I’ve got protein, veggies and fats. As with the wine, I looked the other way from the plates of sushi.

Ok, all fed with a great snack.

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I will soon be boarding my 16-hour flight to Hong Kong. I may have to do a lot of aisle-walking to get the rest of my 8,000 steps.

For Day 2, I’ll share how I ate healthy, got some exercise in, and had a restful sleep – at least that’s the plan!

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