Friday, February 26, 2010

Airline Meals and Nutrition

Over the years, airlines have revised the meals they serve in order to meet consumer expectations for more healthful choices. Changes include more chicken and less beef and fewer saturated fats, like coconut and palm oil.
On noncharter flights passengers can choose from up to a dozen special dietary meals. The requests must be made at least 18 hours ahead of the scheduled flight. Religious meals include kosher, Hindu, and Muslim. For medical conditions, bland, diabetic, GLUTEN-free, low-CALORIE, low-CARBOHYDRATE, low- CHOLESTEROL, low-fat, and low-SODIUM meals may be offered. Other options include a FRUIT plate, SEAFOOD, strict VEGETARIAN, ovolactovegetarian, and infant, toddler, and child meals. First-class meals follow the same nutritional standards.
Passengers on long flights, especially those who have been diagnosed as having phlebitis, inflammation of the VEINS in the leg, or who have a history of heart disease or stroke are considered at high risk of developing deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). A person suffering from deep-vein thrombosis has one or more blood clots in the body’s deep veins, often those in the legs. Because constant air circulation in planes promotes DEHYDRATION, and this, coupled with prolonged sitting, increases the risk of DVT in even healthy people, passengers should drink plenty of fluids, including water and JUICE, and avoid ALCOHOL, COFFEE, and TEA on long flights. About 4 percent to 5 percent of high-risk patients may suffer DVT on flights of 10 hours or more. A brown-bag, carry-on meal is always an option for those with special dietary needs or with food sensitivities.

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