BlueSky Business Aviation News

Paula Kraft, President of Atlanta, GA-based Tastefully Yours Catering examines “Mood Foods” - the consumption of specific foods to get a desired result in a person’s energy and emotional disposition.

Mood Foods

ost of us think of food in several dimensions - palate, appetite, and nutrition - but an often overlooked attribute is the considerable effect certain foods have on our moods.

For example, Imagine a night crossing from Newark to Tel Aviv, total 5681 miles, traveling 450 kts, approximate travel time 12.5 hours. You need to serve a dinner meal, a late night snack for the flight crew, and breakfast for flight crew and passengers.

Since you are on a fabulous G5, and can fly 14 hours without stopping, you have on board a relief pilot. Should everyone eat the same? Should there be more than two selections? The meal planning for this flight needs to take into consideration numerous things. What is the mission? Will both crews go off duty into a rest period upon landing; are the passengers going to a meeting in the morning, or are they heading to a hotel to unwind from the trip before going to an afternoon meeting?

What if this flight was a day crossing and the passengers were going to work on the crossing. They would require high energy foods rather than calming foods. And the trend is more night crossings from the US because of the curfews and restrictions of airports outside of the United States. But what about meal service for a day trip from Moscow to London - a mere 1545 miles, approximately 3.5 hours. The same things need to be considered. What is the mission? What are the passengers doing prior to boarding, and after deplaning? What time zone will you be arriving in? Do they need to be prepared for meetings on arrival? Or for rest?

What if the flight is departing from Luton, London and going to Mumbai, India? 4483 miles, approximately 5.5 hour flight. What is the mission? What time is going to be when the flight lands?

This information vital because recent studies show there is a direct correlation between the foods consumed and the resulting mood and energy level experienced.

“Mood Foods”? Yes, it’s true. It is the consumption of specific foods to get a desired result in a person’s energy and emotional disposition. Mood food response is short term, lasting only two or three hours before the effects fade. If a longer energized mood is required, the crews need a light snack every few hours. As the crews rotate in and out of their duty station, the meals presented to them must reinforce their energy level and mood requirements. And most importantly, no two crew members should eat a meal with any common ingredients. This obviates the possibility of contaminated food affecting the entire crew . . . this policy should already be in place as part of your company’s Catering Safety Management System.

So, let’s think a little more about this flight to Tel Aviv. Your passengers are getting on board eating dinner and then going to bed. The PIC will be getting the first rotation for rest, followed by the co-pilot. The relief pilot will rest early in the flight and then take over during the last few hours. All the while, the flight attendant needs to be alert and ready for action throughout the entire flight. Before landing, everyone would like to have breakfast. So, how do you plan a meal that will positively affect all of the moods of each person with their different needs?

Below, I referenced a list from Dr. Jean Carper's Food - Your Miracle Medicine. The suggestions for a desired mood are listed with the foods necessary to achieve each of the desired goals. I added some of my own menu suggestions so you can see all the possibilities. Once you realize what category the person fits into, it’s easy to create a menu that will help them enjoy the flight even more!

Alert and Energized

You need protein-rich foods: Low-fat seafood, turkey breast, nonfat milk, low-fat or nonfat yogurt, coffee; boron-containing foods such as fruits, nuts, legumes, broccoli, apples, pears, peaches, grapes. This meal is best served about four hours prior to bedtime and the snacks about one hour prior to bedtime

Why Protein?

Protein breaks down into amino acids when you digest it. The amino acid tyrosine increases the production of neurotransmitters dopamine, nor epinephrine, and epinephrine, all of which increase energy and alertness.

Why Boron?

There's no official recommended intake for boron, a trace mineral, but its positive effects on brain function have been widely noted; there's more activity in both brain hemispheres when adequate dietary boron is present.

Dinner Menu Suggestion High Energy:

Warm turkey breast with apple-pear-walnut compote, side of steamed broccoli, and coffee, baked cinnamon apple
Grilled fish, mixed vegetables with a small portion of roasted red potatoes
Broiled tofu with broccoli pesto over spaghetti squash
Pork chop with chunky applesauce, garlic roasted green beans and quinoa confetti pilaf
Moroccan Apricot Baked Chicken with almonds, raisins, prunes over whole grain couscous
Beef filet with broccoli and cauliflower, and tomato-cucumber-artichoke salad
Mixed grill lettuce wraps, crumbled blue cheese and shredded vegetables with a yogurt-blue-cheese dressing
Any salad with 3-6oz meat/beans
Focus on fruits for desserts

Snack Meal Service High Energy:

Mini finger sandwiches of tuna salad on whole grain
Boiled eggs, deviled egg
Toast spread with nut or seed butter
Greek Yogurt
Orange juice
Petite grilled shrimp Kabobs
Crisp sliced apples and warm mixed nuts
Cheese tray and crackers
Sliced meat tray with warm whole grain breads or crackers
Mixed nuts and dried fruits, no granola

Breakfast Menu for High Energy: Passengers and Flight crew need food to make them alert and energized for the day:

Cereal and Yogurt, fresh fruit cup
Frittata and Yogurt parfait, coffee
Smoked salmon
Scrambled Eggs with Broccoli flowerets, grilled tomato, whole grain toast, Yerba mate
Broiled Tofu with sour plum sauce, new potato hash, green tea
Fruit bowl sprinkled with pistachios and Greek yogurt, two slices Kavli Crisp bread, skinny latte
Canadian Bacon, poached egg, slice of cheese toast over a whole grain crumpet or English muffin
Grilled Cheese, apple and bacon flatbread, black tea or coffee
Ham and Cheese Omelet, Breakfast Potatoes, Turkey Apple Sausage

Relax and Rest

You need complex carbohydrates, especially potatoes, pasta, bread, beans, and cereals, onions; snacks: honey or sugar, low-fat, high carbohydrate foods such as air-popped popcorn, rice cakes, Cheerios, and other dry breakfast cereals. Avoid caffeine-containing beverages (coffee, black and green tea, colas, chocolate), especially if they are not part of your usual diet - sudden caffeine consumption can make you nervous and anxious and can last for up to six hours.

Why Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates trigger the release of insulin into the bloodstream, and insulin in turn clears all the amino acids from the blood - except for tryptophan. Without competition from other amino acids, the tryptophan floods the brain, where it's converted into serotonin. The serotonin is a neurotransmitter that combats pain, decreases appetite, and produces calm or sleep.

Dinner Menu Suggestion for Low energy:

Grilled Sea bass with tropical fruit salsa over wilted spinach with grilled asparagus, grilled peaches with honey yogurt
Hearty Tuscan soup such as minestrone and ribollita (a variation on minestrone that includes bread and red onions), Veal Marsala over Fresh Linguini or Potatoes Anna, Fresh Bread Basket and Butter, decaf green tea
EVOO Pasta Primavera with whole grain pasta, plenty of vegetables and a healthy dose of parmesan cheese, sliced fruit, sweetened ricotta pudding and decaf chamomile tea
Sesame Chicken or Tofu stir-fried with Asian Greens, garlic and ginger over brown rice, lemon balm decaf black tea
Black bean soup with avocado slices, whole wheat quesadilla and meatless taco salad, flan and fresh strawberries, mint tea
Sweet potato, Kale and mushroom Quinoa Pilaf, honey sweetened Greek yogurt and fresh figs, lemon balm or mint tea
Grilled Chicken Salad with dressing, strawberry rhubarb compote with ice cream, chamomile tea
Spinach Salad with Turkey Bacon, Eggs and Red Onion, Lasagna, Garlic Bread, decaf green tea
Steak, Scalloped Potatoes, Herve Verde, Rolls and Butter

Snack Meal Service for Low Energy:

Popcorn and M&M
Apples and caramel rice cakes
Apple pie a la mode
Oatmeal cookies with milk or cocoa
Trail mix of Granola, flaxseed (or Chia seed) dried fruits, and cocoa nibs
Hummus and whole grain pita with fresh garden vegetables to dip

We, as the food source providers (caterers, the schedulers, the flight attendants), have a responsibility to plan meals that will assist the flight crews to perform their jobs to the best of their ability with the most concentrated and focused energy.

We need to accept the responsibility to see that the passengers arrive with the least amount of jetlag possible and with the ability to start their duties upon arrival with the same energy level as though they had maintained normal eating and sleeping patterns. It works!


Let me introduce myself . . . 

My name is Paula Kraft and I am founder and President of Tastefully Yours Catering, an aviation specific caterer, located in Atlanta, Georgia for over 35 years.

Aviation Catering is a science not taught in Culinary School; it’s a function of experience, experimentation, basic trial and error, with constant feedback from flight crews and clients. It is a two-way communication. It is vital that this information and knowledge be shared throughout the industry. To this end, I have worked as the Chairman of the NBAA Caterer’s Working Group, a subcommittee of the NBAA Flight Attendant Committee, the NBAA Caterer Representative to the NBAA Flight Attendant Committee, for 9 years. 

Currently I am an active member of the NBAA Flight Attendant Committee Advisory Board and the NBAA International Flight Attendant Committee, Women in Corporate Aviation, Women in Aviation International, National Association of Catering Executives, International Flight Catering Association, the International Food Service Association and the International Caterer’s Association.

I have coordinated training programs and clinics for NBAA and EBAA conference attendees for over 10 years, created mentoring programs for caterers and flight attendants to broaden their aviation culinary skills, and to assist them in adapting to the unique challenges and constraints found in catering for general aviation. I recognize the need for training and have worked closely with flight departments, flight crews, schedulers and customer service reps at the FBOs to ensure that catering specific training provides information and skills necessary to reduce risk while assisting them in their job duties that include safe food handling, catering security, accurate transmission of food orders, and safe food production, packaging and delivery.

I fell into aviation catering quite by accident. I was the in-house caterer and bakery supplier for Macy’s department stores in Atlanta when catering was ordered for a Macy’s customer which was soon to change my life. After the client enjoyed the catering provided, I was summoned to the client’s corporate office to provide several of the items delivered through Macy’s to the executive dining room. Within a week, I was providing food for the flight department and my first order was for the President of a foreign country (as I was too be told soon after). So, here I am, some 35 years later, still loving every minute of every day in aviation catering.

Got a question?

Paula welcomes your comments, questions or feedback


©BlueSky Business Aviation News | 6th July 2017 | Issue #423
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