How to lunch like a pilot
Discover what lies in the lunchboxes of those with the brightest minds and highest-flying careers, then read our nutritionist's take on the health credentials. You might just find your next inspiring midday meal right here, so read on to find out what you might find in a pilot's lunchbox...
Who: Caline Jonasson
Bio: Caline lives in Canada but flies all over the world as a passenger airplane pilot. The job demands she works lots of different shift patterns, meaning diet is key to sustaining concentration and enegry.
What's in Caline's lunchbox...
"I always pack a lunch for convenience but also because during our flights, pilots are too busy to stop and grab food. We also sometimes face delays, so we need to be prepared for a worst case scenario, so having a stash of food is really important! My favourite lunch is a chicken wrap with rice, feta and hot sauce, then a salad of cucumber, peppers and tomatoes with ranch dressing. I'll also pack a granola bar as a sweet kick, and snack on salt and vinegar rice cakes.
Our nutritionist's view...
Kerry Torrens says: Working irregular and often anti-social hours can take its toll, potentially effecting both our physical and mental well-being. Caline has selected flavour-packed options including protein, energy-supplying carbs and some fresh veg to contribute towards her five-a-day. A stressful job combined with a disrupted body clock makes Caline’s choices all the more important. Studies suggest that when our body clock is out of sync this may influence our blood sugar, so it’s important to include satisfying protein and plenty of wholegrains to help keep energy levels on an even keel.
Caline’s choice of protein is a good one – chicken is low in fat and rich in minerals, including the ones that help support our immune system. However, cheese like feta, bread products including wraps as well as shop-bought sauces can all be high in salt, which can have a detrimental effect on blood pressure. When selecting snacks Caline should be sure to check labels carefully. Some options, like the granola bar, may be high in sugars, especially the ‘free sugars’, which we should all be reducing. Others, like the salt and vinegar rice cakes, may further increase her salt intake.
Kerry says: Adding avocado to Caline’s wrap or sandwich not only adds delicious creaminess, but it means Caline can omit butter or spread. Avocado is rich in heart-healthy, mono-unsaturated fats, which help keep cholesterol levels balanced and supplies stress-busting B vitamins. Swapping Caline’s wrap for a piece of wholegrain rye bread would steady her blood sugar because rye has less of an influence on our insulin response than wheat. Wholegrains are also rich in B vitamins, which are important for our nervous system and for managing our response to stressful situations.
For a sweet option, Caline might like to consider swapping the granola bar for a satsuma combined with a handful of unsalted nuts. Juicy fruits like satsumas are great when you need a sweet hit, plus citrus supplies a valuable dose of vitamin C to support Caline’s immune system. Nuts are a good source of heart-healthy fats and their protein and fibre content make them a sustaining, low GI option. Caline might like to swap the salt and vinegar rice cakes for mini matzos sandwiched together with nut butter. By combining a low-salt, carbohydrate option with some protein-rich nut butter, Caline will cut back her salt intake and provide her body with a source of slow-releasing energy.