We’ve all done it. Woken up too late to have a healthy breakfast before leaving for the airport, rushed through security, ran through the concourse to just make our gate, sat down in our cramped seat, and realized too late that we were starving.
At that point, there’s little a traveler can do to stave off hunger. Those terrible, plastic-tasting little frozen dinners airlines used to pass out at mealtimes are a thing of the past. No more teeny packets of honey-roasted peanuts with the airline’s insignia. Nope, if travellers find themselves hungry on an airplane these days, the only thing to do is fork over ten bucks for a can of potato chips and chow down, fighting the salt bloat for the rest of the flight.
But with a little foresight and preparation, air travel doesn’t have to culminate in desperately binging on unhealthy snacks. There is no rule stating that travelers can’t bring their own meals onto planes as long as they take into consideration liquid guidelines. So you’ll have to leave your bottle of ranch at home, but otherwise, why not just make a real meal to eat while you travel?
According to the New York Times, the best snacks for air travel are the ones that can be frozen beforehand and eaten after they unthaw. Chef Josh Capon of Lure Fishbar even manages to bring shrimp cocktail onboard flights by freezing shrimp and packing cocktail sauce in separate 2 oz. containers. When the plane takes off, Capon kicks back and enjoys his thawed shrimp, which doesn’t sound like much of a treat for his seatmate.
Other chefs recommend bringing along food that can’t wilt or spoil as the day wears on. Leafy green salads will lose their luster by the time you board, so pack a quinoa salad instead. Wrapping sandwiches in plastic and then aluminum foil will also help to keep them fresh even at 30,000 feet.
In this slideshow, we’ve put together some healthy, travel friendly recipes to keep you satisfied on your next flight, be it a short jaunt to the next state or a cross-country journey.
Make It A Picnic
Pack your own charcuterie the night before your trip for an airplane picnic! Freeze slices of meats and cheese in plastic bags (remember, you won’t have access to a knife). Pre-slice whole grain bread and wrap in in plastic, then aluminum before storing in Tupperware. And don’t forget the take out packets of deli mustard! The protein in the cheese and meat, along with the whole grain bread will keep you feeling full on your flight, so you don’t find yourself binging at the first Burger King you see.
Travel Friendly Potato-Salad
Since it’s already a picnic, why not bring some potato salad? Boil red potatoes the night before you fly and add some veggies that travel well, like green beans and corn. Instead of mayo, which isn’t the best travel companion, season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Refrigerate overnight; the potatoes will soak up the oil, and you’ll have an excellent side dish the next day.