The way and the what astronauts eat in space today has changed dramatically since space flight first began. During the early days of space exploration,eating was a simple but not enjoyable task. Food consisted of dehydrated cubes covered in gel, squeeze tubes and powders.Astronauts didn’t even have the luxury of hot water in those days! Reconstituting food with cold water meant a very poor dining experience indeed.
Today, however, astronauts have a much better diet. Hot water was an early addition helping tremendously with food preparation and taste. Packaging has also improved drastically allowing for an easier time cooking, eating and even in disposing of meals. Silverware has been available for some time but only on Skylab could astronauts actually sit down at a table. This was thanks to a larger area and the ability to lock themselves down.
In addition to the advancements in how astronauts eat in space, what they eat has grown as well. Thanks to all of the advancements in the field of space technology, the answer to “What do astronauts eat in space?” is basically what they ate on earth. Astronauts today have a huge variety of options that were not available just a few years ago. Although the meals may be largely reconstituted, they are about the same types of meals eaten on earth. Spaghetti, shrimp cocktail, and pudding are just a few options. These days many fresh foods are even available to astronauts, particularly, fresh bread and fruit.
As long as the nutritional requirements are met astronauts choose specific foods for themselves. The nutritional needs of the astronauts are a very large concern and all meals are planned with the specific nutritional needs of each astronaut in mind. Nutrition however, is no longer the only factor. For the most part dining in space has gone from being a strange and limited task to a largely normal routine and leaving planet earth behind no longer means leaving all normal eating habits behind. Space food is now a mix of traditional space food and dehydrated meals and more traditional earth foods. Space food is now even commercially available to the public.
As technology advances, how and what astronauts eat is sure to develop even further. Astronauts may some day even have nearly all choices available on earth. The range of what is eaten in space, thanks to current technological advancements, is as diverse as the eating habits of each individual. Humans can now take their favorite foods with them into space.