While airplane food doesn’t have the best reputation, there are some items you can get that are definitely better than others. If you’re feeling hungry, it’s totally understandable that you’d might want to grab something to eat, especially if it’s a long flight. However, experts recommend never to eat pasta that’s served on a plane.
A study from Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics showed that the low pressure on the plane along with dryness reduces humans’ taste buds’ sensitivity for salty and sweet by about 30%.
Director of culinary excellence at LSG Sky Chefs Asia Pacific Fritz Gross shared with a 2012 interview on CNN: “Our top concern is actually food safety. Because we do such a large volume, we cannot afford to have things in there that are not right. You can imagine how easily an airline can get sued.”
So why do experts recommend to avoid pasta? Gross said that some foods can’t hold up to the cooking process in high altitude. For example, pasta is reheated while in the air, and since it will likely be reheated before it is served, it will be very overcooked when it arrives on your tray table.
According to executive director of Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center Dr. Charles Platkin, “Eating lots of heavy carbs such as pasta with thick, dense sauces, breads, muffins or cakes will leave you feeling lethargic, cranky, and not full or satisfied. Your blood sugar levels will spike and then fall, which will negatively impact how you feel.”
If you want to feel alert upon arrival, it’s probably best to avoid the pasta served on your flight. Additionally, a lot of the carb-heavy meals served on flights will leave you feeling heavier and lethargic.
So what should you snack on when you get peckish? It’s best to avoid airline food in general, so try to pack snacks on your own. Some flight-friendly snacks include protein bars, popcorn, and fruit. You can also pack approved size peanut butter, hummus, and other spreads. Best of all, you’ll be able to snack on filling, healthy foods while also saving a lot of money.