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Air Travel

5 genius beverage cart hacks to try ASAP

Because you can't plug in your Vitamix mid-flight.

by Rebecca Willa Davis | 03.12.2018

It’s a sound recognizable to anyone who flies regularly: the slow kur-klump of the beverage cart being pushed down the aisle of an airplane.

But while you might be hearing the siren call of a can of tomato juice (seriously, it’s a thing), what you fill your cup with can actually make or break how you feel as you get off the plane and head towards the baggage claim.

“If you have a compromised system because you’re traveling and your body is a little out of sorts, drinking sodas or juices that are high in sugar are going to lower your immune system,” says certified nutritional practitioner Kelly Maia Agnew. “You’ll have blood sugar drops and feel like garbage—and then you’re going to want something to eat and your mood could get all funky.”

Could the beverage cart actually help you deal with whatever else comes up mid-flight, from stress to feeling hangry?

Not exactly the best way to activate your vacation mode. That’s too bad, because staying hydrated is crucial when you’re a mile high. “If you’re not drinking enough water, you’re compromising your system even further,” she notes. The aim? Your H2O #goals while en route should be more than your regular daily hydration calculation (which is the ridiculously simple equation of dividing your weight in half to figure out the total ounces you need per day).

“Because you’re traveling, you’re going to have a hard time keeping up your water intake—which is why getting a drink from the beverage cart is a good idea,” adds Agnew.

But beyond staying away from cans of Coke and apple juice, are there any options that will give you a boost other than, er, plain water? And could the beverage cart actually help you deal with whatever else comes up mid-flight, from stress to feeling hangry?

In a word: yes. Here, Agnew walks through the best options for when the beverage cart comes rolling by.

If you’re a soda fiend…

Ask for a glass of sparkling water with a lemon or lime: “As long as there’s not added sugar or salt, I’d say go for it if it makes you drink more water—it’s better than having your juice or soda. Some people do deal with more digestive distress from the carbonation, however, so if you’re sitting in a suit and you know that carbonation makes you uncomfortable, then stay away with it.”

If you’re hungry and are out of snacks…

Boost your water with collagen powder: “If you have to tide yourself over without food, try collagen packets. Each has 8-10 grams of protein, which gives you energy that’s not sugar and can hopefully sustain you.”

If you don’t love the taste of plain water…

Bring a green powder: “Pour it in water and mix it up—it’s a great way to boost your immune system and support your body.”

If you’re an anxious flyer (or need to sleep)…

Reach for the magnesium: “Especially if you’re a nervous flyer and you’re on a long flight, it can be a good idea. You just put magnesium citrate powder in hot water and stir it up, and it can help relax your body. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant and it affects the nervous system as well—most people are actually deficient in magnesium.”

If you can’t not drink your coffee…

Add a healthy fat: “Coffee is a diuretic, and it can also affect your blood sugar level—having it spike and drop. So we need to add things to it that will help balance it out. Take the coffee black and then add your own stuff. Try collagen, which will dissolve in the coffee; another option is MCT oil or powdered coconut creamer. The healthy fats will help reduce how fast your body breaks things down, to help you stay fuller—so you can have a cup of coffee and not need a donut after.”

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