Don’t be a travel slug. Eat dark chocolate and ease your jet lag. Although I love it, travel is sometimes my nemesis. Giving into airport food temptations, not drinking enough water when traveling between Point A and Point B, and catching a few hours of sleep in order to hop on an o’dark-thirty flight often makes me sluggish. Michelle Dudash, award-winning registered dietitian and Cordon Bleu-certified chef offers eating tips to beat jet lag in her best-selling book Clean Eating for Busy Families.
Wild Ophelia is the Perfect Travel Companion
Why dark chocolate to ease your jet lag? According to Dudash, dark chocolate can reduce levels of catecholamine and cortisol stress hormones and no matter what kind of travel you do there is some amount of stress. She advises consuming a chocolate with a higher percentage of cacao and suggests starting at one with 60 percent cacao then work your way up. Plus, dark chocolate has less sugar than other chocolate.
I was excited to learn this because during BlogHer 2013 I met representatives from Wild Ophelia, an American chocolate brand featuring organic ingredients sourced from small food artisans and farms from across the country. They offer non-traditional chocolate bar flavors as Beef Jerky, Smokehouse BBQ Potato Chips and Southern Hibiscus Peach. Yes, these flavors sound a little strange but trust me, they really work deliciously with chocolate.
Wild Ophelia offer several dark chocolate bars including New Orleans Chili and Mount Sequoia Granola, both with 70 percent cacao. Next time I hit the friendly skies I’ll stop by my local Walgreens and Whole Foods to pick up a bar or two. Bars are also sold at Cost Plus World Market.
Additional Ways to Beat Jetlag
Build a snack pack for your next trip. In addition to dark chocolate, Michelle Dudash also recommends beating jet lag with:
- Good carbohydrates such as an apple, dried fruit or low-sugar granola. These carbs stimulate your feel-good brain chemical serotonin.
- Vitamin B6 found in foods as roasted chickpeas, tuna salad and bananas. This vitamin boots melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. But don’t worry, you won’t fall asleep immediately eating foods rich in Vitamin B6, melatonin is triggered by darkness.
- Melatonin-rich foods as almonds, dried cherries and sunflower seeds. You can easily find a trail mix with these three items. Tomatoes have a high melatonin content and while in flight Dudash recommends ordering tomato juice.
- Stay hydrated during your flight to fight fatigue and keep false hunger and headaches away. In addition to water, consume dehydrated coconut (perhaps find it in a trail mix with the almonds, dried cherries and sunflower seeds) and order orange juice for electrolytes which are important for basically keep your body in motion.
Interested in learning more about what to eat when traveling? Visit Michelle Dudash’s website and check out her book, Clean Eating for Busy Families. And don’t forget the Wild Ophelia dark chocolate on your next flight!
About Michelle Dudash
Michelle Dudash is an award-winning registered dietitian, best-selling cookbook author of Clean Eating for Busy Families (Fair Winds Press, December, 2012), Cordon Bleu-certified chef, recipe columnist for The Arizona Republic‘s “Healthy Dish” and television nutritionist. She is nationally recognized as an expert in teaching people how food and health can deliciously co-exist. In her 18 years of food business experience, her recipes have appeared at A-list celebrity events, she cooked at the late Mary Elaine’s, a Mobil Five Star restaurant, and was a private chef serving guests including English royalty. As a busy working mom, Michelle understands what millions of families face every night as they struggle to put a healthy meal on the table in minutes.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links in order to support this blog and my traveling habit.
Image Sources: Top and Bottom photo from www.michelledudash.com.