Overview of an astronaut’s diet (What they should eat during training and what they eat in space)
For some people, packing for a big trip can be the hardest part of the trip. What to wear and what food to bring are usually the biggest areas of concerns for travellers. Now imagine making these decisions on your way to space. For astronauts, the choice of food that can be brought to and consumed in space is a lot more limited than our choices on earth, no matter what part of the globe you’re travelling to.
While training for their space missions on earth, an astronaut trains like a professional athlete. With the right diet and exercise, they have to be ready for anything that could be thrown their way while in space. Along with weight lifting, cardio and space training and simulation, an astronaut will have a diet that consists of healthy foods and integrated space foods. An astronaut’s body needs to be used to the type of diet they will have once in space and building up to that is crucial.
The astronauts eat three meals and two snacks a day while in space. A low sodium diet is favored simply because salty foods and space don’t mix all that well together.
Despite the fact that there’s no refrigeration or microwave system in space, an astronaut’s diet still consists of a variety of dehydrated foods from all over the globe. By adding cold or hot water to the ‘space foods’, astronauts are treated to specialties that range from Italian food, to Chinese food and many items in between. Just this past month, the first Italian astronaut in space, Luca Parmitano, brought ‘space’ tiramisu on their mission.
The most common foods in an astronaut’s diet while in space:
- Tortillas: bread isn’t allowed in space due to its wayward crumbling.
- Dehydrated chicken
- Vacuum sealed snacks: Pringles, M&M’s
- Noodles: (just add hot water)
- Astronaut ice cream sandwiches: an all-time favorite
Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield has created social media videos to show off his cooking skills in his episodes of “Hadfield’s Space Kitchen” from the international space station. He creates delicacies such as peanut butter and honey tortillas. The range of foods in space has come along way since the Apollo missions in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Space food during that era consisted of mostly nutritious liquids, which may have kept the astronauts from starving, but it didn’t do much to entice their pallets.
Every once in a while, the astronaut’s in space will get a special treat from earth. On special occasions (and depending on the distance from Earth), Birthday cakes have been sent to space, as well as a pizza pie from Pizza Hut in 2001. Since tortillas are such a staple in earth, Taco Bell has also been aboard the space missions. It’s not as easy as an online restaurant order, but it can be done to keep the astronauts happy! So while it’s impossible to “go out to dinner” in space, an astronaut’s diet has come a long way in recent years and just like the rocket ship, there’s no where to go but up.