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Jet lag Pancakes - my personal recipe to prevent jetlag

Updated on July 19, 2014
Elyn MacInnis profile image

Elyn spent the last 30 years in China, coming home in the summer to cook American food and have fun doing craft projects with her family.

Pancakes for preventing jetlag?

Yup. It's all part of a system I developed for myself. I travel a lot. And I don't like meat much, so it isn't easy to find good food on the road. And preventing jet lag is something I feel a bit passionate about.

I have included all my favorite tips here on this page, so you can see what worked for me over the years. People are different, and what works for me may not be a big help for you, but it is always worth trying! Meanwhile, if you have to take trip and suffer from jet lag, these pancakes will help you feel more comfortable.

Jet lag is more complicated than just resetting your body clock. Part of the problem with jet lag is that not only do you have to reset your clock, but you also have to conquer the stress of traveling, cope with eating out, adjusting to the food and water in a new city, and adlust to a change in your body clock on top of that.

Jet lag pancakes

Jet lag pancakes
Jet lag pancakes
cottage cheese pancakes
cottage cheese pancakes

I can remember flying in the early 1960s. The planes had such good food - plenty of it, and fresh, with real silverware and nice napkins. It"s not true anymore.

Plane food is yucky, and likely to give me an upset stomach. If you get a bad stomach, jet lag is much more difficult to conquer, so I like to make a stack of protein rich cottage cheese pancakes to take with me. You can also get very swollen from eating food that is too salty, like peanuts and pretzels. These can be made with or without salt, but if you add a little bit of salt, I think they taste better.

The last time I flew on a plane I had my daughter's dog with me, and the dog ate the pancakes too. We were both very satisfied!

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: 4


  • 1 cup creamed cottage cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • sprinkle of nutmeg


  1. This is such an easy recipe. You can put all the ingredients in a blender, or use a blender stick in a regular bowl (my favorite method) and mix it until smooth.
  2. Melt a little butter in the pan. Pour the pancake batter into the pan and make sure the pancakes will fit inside a small plastic zipper bag. Cook over low heat until done. High heat makes the proteins rubbery, so make sure you don't use full heat. Cool and put into bags.
Cast your vote for Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Is that all you do?

I will be honest. No. But I see these pancakes as critical. Pancakes and one other thing.

The other pieces?

I will share ALL my tips with you too, in case you are having to take a trip soon. But if I could choose only two ways to avoid jet lag on a long flight, it would be:

1. Cottage cheese jet lag pancakes to eat on the plane.

2. A tiny dose of melatonin - much less than they suggest - for the first three nights.

I have found that if I take the "standard dose I get a headache and have strange dreams. But if I take about 1/4 to 1/3 of a 1 mg tablet of melatonin that you dissolve under your tongue, I have no headaches and few dreams. More on that later.

What I wear on the plane to feel better - Compression Socks - No blood clots for me!

Wearing these socks keeps a gentle compression on your legs, keeping the circulation flowing, and helps you to avoid blood clots. They also help with jet lag, because you keep healthier on the road, and don't arrive all bloated and swollen.

In my whole life I have only had one friend who got a blood clot from a long plane trip. Sometimes I wonder how much of all the flap over this is just hype to have something to be anxious about. On the other hand, that one friend who got the blood clot actually died from it, and it was very sad.

I love these socks because they keep my feet from swelling during the long ride, and also they make me feel better in general. If you haven't tried them, you should consider it.

More comfort tips for the plane - Take a big shawl wrap sweater - to help you keep warm on a cold plane so you can get some sleep

I love these for traveling - you can flip the front stole/scarf part over any part of you that is extra cold. And this one comes in 20 cool colors. This was on sale when I put it on the site. A real bargain - check it out.

Beach wraps work well too. I got a big piece of light weight cotton cloth that could be folded into a very very small pack. I take it out on the plane and can use it as a light blanket, or I can twist it around my neck to hold my head up as I sleep. Both are good.

Be aware of light and its affect on you - Be careful not to get "electronic insomnia" from your tablet, Ipad or Iphone

jet lag tips
jet lag tips

Your body's sleep clock depends on natural light. Getting up early in the morning on the first day you are in your new time zone and taking a walk in the sunshine is an important thing to do to adjust the brain.

Another important light related tip - don't stay up late on your I-pad or notebook computer. The light in the screen can act like strong sunshine, and can send the wrong signals to your brain about what time of day it is.

On the other hand, if you use your I-pad first thing in the morning, it will stimulate your brain to let it know that morning has arrived.

What to do your first night at your destination? - Take a tiny amount of melatonin before bedtime

Some people say melatonin gives them a headache or gives them vivid or bad dreams. I have discovered that I only get a headache if I take too much.

What is too much? I buy the 1 mg. sub-lingual melatonin and then just shave off a tiny piece. Believe it or not, this will put you to sleep too, without the bad-dreams or headache side effects. Give it a try next time.

You are supposed to take melatonin just before bed. That is what I do. And it really helps me get a good night sleep on that first night. If you don't take it the first night, it is harder to adjust.

After you Arrive...

Napping - earlier in the day is better than later

If I am really desperate I take a nap. It is better if I can nap earlier in the day rather than later. Naps in the afternoon tend to disrupt my night's sleeping cycle.

But there are some ways to combat tiredness if you are not too tired, like taking a walk, getting up to get a drink or even just to do a few exercises. It is amazing how a little movement will give you some new energy.

jet lag remedies
jet lag remedies

Is this all I do?

Yes - the critical pieces are having pancakes and taking melatonin for the first three nights

If you find that you still have a hard time adjusting to a new time zone, there are lots of other good ideas to fine tune your jet lag prevention. You can find them at:

Can't sleep? 21 Insomnia tips to help you sleep

Since our bodies are so different, there is no one-size-fits-all remedy. Just remember, if you have tried melatonin before and not liked the result, do try taking micro-doses instead and see if that makes a difference for you.

Please feel free to leave some comments!

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    • PadmashriSriram profile image


      4 years ago

      These are awesome ideas. Way to go.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile imageAUTHOR

      Elyn MacInnis 

      5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      @anonymous: After doing a lot of investigation online, I think it is not so black and white. Have a look at the various doctor sites - you will find varying answers. I think the most important thing for me is whether the socks grab you anywhere too tightly.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      A doctor once told me that knee high stockings are no good for flying. The stockings should go up as high as possible.

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 

      5 years ago from Diamondhead

      Great idea, I travel a great deal and know what you mean about not being able to satisfactory vegetarian food on the road or on a plane. Cottage cheese sure makes you pancake nutritious while traveling. My husband always wear compression socks when he travels.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile imageAUTHOR

      Elyn MacInnis 

      5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      @anonymous: Thanks Tipi - so good to find you here. And about those swelling feet - it is really important to avoid those salty peanuts and pretzels, and to try not to eat anything that is especially salty during your time before and on the plane. That alone will help a lot. Of course, the compression socks do help a lot too.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I've never flown, so have never had jet lag but I like pancakes and would never have thought of using cottage cheese in them. I didn't know that airline food was ever good but remember food in general being good in the 60's. I have never heard of electronic insomnia but it makes sense now that you mention it, man travelers have to really be on top of things. I have heard of people saying that their whole trip was ruined by such terrible swelling in their feet and ankles that they were just miserable the whole time, I'm glad to hear the compression socks help with that and may prevent blood clots. I'm pretty sensitive to what may be normal doses of products and can understand the issue with melatonin because of that.....less is better. This is very thoughtful of you to do! :)

    • Elyn MacInnis profile imageAUTHOR

      Elyn MacInnis 

      5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      @floppypoppygift1: A tiny bit goes a long way...

    • floppypoppygift1 profile image


      5 years ago

      Great ideas for weary travelers. I like that you say a small amount of melatonin. People have tendency to overuse it if they think it isn't working! Your dog is adorable! Cheers~cb

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I will have to try those pancakes... very interesting...

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great tips! I'm going to try this next time I fly.

    • randomthings lm profile image

      randomthings lm 

      6 years ago

      These were some really good ideas. Jet lag can be brutal. Next time i travel, i shall try them. THANKS


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