The days are starting to blend together as I fly, sleep and eat. I don't have access to a vehicle and I don't want to be twenty minutes walk across town when the customer calls, so most of my meals are either from the Boston Pizza in the hotel parking lot or consist of what I can prepare with a fridge and a microwave in my room. To tell the truth, I'm typically eating two meals a day: one around noon, at Boston Pizza (the Thai chicken wrap is pretty good, and they have lots of pastas), and one consisting of airborne snacks, spread out over the seven hour flight.
It's all focused, hands on flying. There is very little time during a flight that I am not concentrating on maintaining precise parameters. For example, if I am two degrees off my proper heading for ten seconds, someone will be yelling at me, because two degrees off for twenty seconds will necessitate doing the work over again. At first I could barely breathe while working but of course over seven hours I now eat, drink, take my sunglasses on and off, skip the songs I don't feel like listening to on the iPod nano, check my blood oxygen, adjust the heater, take snapshots for the blog, switch fuel tanks, monitor engine parameters, make radio calls, look for traffic, try to rearrange the cushions to make my seat more comfortable, write notes on things I have to get maintenance to fix, open the air vents, and speculate on the weather. Crossword puzzles I reserve for when I'm a passenger.
My favourite onboard snack is apples. They don't need peeling or unwrapping, don't squish, last well without refrigeration, quench my thirst without filling my bladder and I can hold one in my teeth or balance it on my lap if I need hands or tongue for work mid-snack. Dried fruit is tasty, but you need to drink water anyway to digest it, so that's two operations instead of one. My other inflight meal staple is Arrowroot biscuits. They're in the cookie aisle of the grocery store in Canada and in the baby food section in the US (I learned the last after a week or so of disappointed failure to find them, fearing they were a Canadian product that was not exported to the States). It turns out that cookies that are well-formulated for babies are well-formulated for pilots, too. They contain very little sugar or salt, so that I don't need to drink a lot of water to digest them They are mushy rather than crumbly in my mouth, and they are small and thin, so I can put a whole one in my mouth and enjoy it slowly without choking on crumbs.
I always have energy bars in my flight bag, because they last a long time and give me a lot of calories for a little weight and convenient package. I prefer the Luna bars, Lemon flavour. I like chocolate a lot, but I don't eat chocolate flavoured energy bars. I never have a desire for them. I also liked the old Power Bars in the green wrappers. I think they were nominally apple cinnamon. Power Bars never taste like anything, but the green ones were kind of crunchy and i liked the texture. The Luna bars are crunchy like that, too. Kind of the texture of a rice krispie treat that is just loaded with marshmallows, but not sticky or sweet. I'm not sure why. I guess when my body asks for food and I give it chocolate it is a little confused.
Sometimes I do bring chocolate or candy. Once when I couldn't find Arrowroots I had gluten-free animal crackers, which was fun, especially when I said "ooh, a hippopotamus" and had the mission specialist thinking I'd seem one out the window. In Arizona. I also might have grapes, beef jerky, nuts, or a banana. Bananas are a pain because they get squished so easily and the peel is messy.
Judging from the cockpit debris, other company pilots eat Froot Loops cereal, pistachio nuts, and Smarties (the Canadian kind that are like M&Ms, not the American kind in a twisted roll). I've heard a story of a pilot who used to set the autopilot and make himself a huge bucket of Caesar salad (apparently it used to be called Aviator's Salad, so there you go). He'd eat that followed by a whole roast chicken, and I can't remember what his starch component supposedly was. I imagine the story has grown a little with the telling.