Author Topic: Food for plane travel?  (Read 11881 times)

Argyle

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Food for plane travel?
« on: March 07, 2015, 10:37:22 PM »
I have some long flights coming up where travel will be 14+ hours door to door.  I want to pack food to take with me, to avoid having to buy food on the plane or in the airport.

So what I need is food that won't spoil and that is allowable on planes.  The rules specify that you can't take in your carry-on luggage more than 3 oz. of any liquids or substances that flow to fill the space so no hummus, jam, etc.  Sometimes in practice they're lax about that, but I don't want to chance it, because I've seen people have to throw away their stuff.  And I know that I could take multiple 3-oz. containers of hummus and all, but that just seems not worth the hassle.  However, if I take the jam or hummus in a sandwich, that will work.

So far I've come up with homemade muffins, jam or hummus sandwiches, and some veggie sticks.  This seems awfully boring.  My foodie imagination is not that inventive generally.

Any more exciting suggestions for homemade travel food?

Coonz

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2015, 10:51:10 PM »
I've watched TSA take little chocolate milk containers from toddlers. That stuff is ridiculous.

You could take protein powder and fill it up with water after security (if you're into that- it can be quite filling). I usually make some oat/seed bars similar to this http://www.eatingbirdfood.com/2010/05/chewy-oat-squares/ and they are nutritiously delicious. Apple slices (maybe with cheese or almond butter and eat them earlier on), veggie sandwiches, crackers, little chocolate treats, and water water water.

lovesasa

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2015, 10:52:53 PM »
I'm assuming for 14 hour travel you would be on an international flight. In my experience, international flights usually provide at least one meal, and have a free alcoholic beverage. I just flew from Bangkok, Thailand to Kunming, China (only 2 hours) and there was an inflight meal. So... Unless you're on some weird budget airline that specifically states they don't provide food, I wouldn't panic too much about food.

That being said, I'm a big fan of a balance between sweet and salty. I like to bring beef jerky, but be aware that to get through security the package should be unopened when you get to the airport, and you must finish it (or throw it away) before you go through customs at the country of arrival. If you end up not opening the package, you should be fine to bring it through customs, though it may depend on the country.

Nuts, fruit, veggies, etc are also all good travel snacks, but again you might not be allowed to bring them into a new country through customs so be prepared to either eat them or toss them on arrival. I'm also a big fan of hard boiled eggs. Protein/fat in general are good ways of feeling full and not having blood sugar spikes, which for me is important at not getting cranky after the 3rd time my flight is delayed...

All of this being said, I've never actually had customs call me out on breaking any of these rules, these are just the rules you're supposed to follow. On my last flight from China to the US I did see some Chinese passengers having to throw out food at customs, but this has happened on literally every flight I've been on with Chinese. Some people just don't seem to listen to the rules (or think they apply to them...)

One travel hack I like to use is to bring an empty thermos/tea mug with me. You may have to take the lid off at security to prove it's empty, but they'll let you through with it. Most US airports have drinking fountains where you can fill up. In Asia you will often find hot water dispensers, so I'll bring some tea leaves and boom, have my own free mug of tea without paying ridiculous airport prices. In other countries coffee shops etc may let you fill up on hot water for free. Sometimes the stewardess will offer you hot water (again, usually on Asian flights). YMMV.

Dimitri

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2015, 11:01:13 PM »
You may be flying in the opposite direction, but from my experience crossing the Pacific you get two meals and unlimited drinks.  Last year when I was in baggage claim (overseas) one of the stewardesses came over and asked my wife if I was alright.  I guess she was second guessing how much she had served me.  Admittedly, I had been drinking pretty heavily ever since we left Los Angeles.  Whiskey and soda to start and then on to beer non-stop for the long haul. My advice is to enjoy the alcohol and snacks.  Don't worry about the rest.  You should be fine.

Argyle

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2015, 11:28:27 PM »
It's not a 14 hour flight, it's 14 hours door to door.  Have to arrive at the airport an hour in advance.  First leg of the trip is an hour.  Then wait in the intermediate airport 2 hours.  Then a four-hour flight.  Then a three-hour layover.  Then an hour-long flight to destination.   Than an hour-long drive.  This is typical of living in an out-of-the-way place and flying to other out-of-the-way places, all within the U.S.  So no free onboard food except the beverage cart.  I have four flights like this coming up.

lovesasa

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2015, 11:50:05 PM »
Oh bummer on the back to back flights. Not pleasant... In that case at least you won't have to worry about bringing food through customs. I'd definitely go with veggie sticks and a small container of peanut butter (you can buy the little cups but they're super overpriced), nuts, beef or turkey jerky, and boiled eggs. Then maybe some sliced apples or other hard fruit for the first part of the voyage, then dried fruit for later (when the fresh fruit would be gross). You should be able to get decent dried fruit and nuts from the bulk bins at a health food store, I usually try to find the stuff without added sugar. You can bring a lot of calories this way and avoid the overprice crap they sell at the airport.

An alternative to the tea I mentioned earlier would be the little flavor packs of crystal light or propel. They have a crystal light "energy" one if you're a caffeine addict and don't like tea or instant coffee.

My other advice would be to just travel light. In the US I usually only bring a backpack and don't check any bags, which allows me to get in and out of the airport much more quickly and saves on checked bag fees (not a problem if you fly Southwest, but I usually did this on their flights too). Depends on the purpose of your trip and your own travel style.

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2015, 12:32:55 AM »
Sorry.  Thought you were going over the ocean.  In your case I would probably go with granola bars.  No problem with the TSA.  Bring an empty 32oz Gatorade bottle through the checkpoint.  You can fill it from a water fountain (add Gatorade or other powder flavour if you want).  Should you be "lucky" enough to be delayed don't be afraid to ask for a food voucher (politely).  I've gotten them even when outside the normal protocol by being real nice and kind of sympathetic.

lpep

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2015, 12:55:47 AM »
http://www.thekitchn.com/12-delicious-things-you-can-pack-for-a-flight-204111

http://www.thekitchn.com/travel-food-10-meals-you-can-c-149739

Those articles have some good ideas.

Also, if, like me, you get motion sick and planes bother you, I discovered a fantastic cure that's gonna sound a little weird, but just try it: pickled ginger (like you'd eat with sushi). It's like a warm hug for your stomach. Trader Joe's also has tasty dark chocolate ginger snacks.

I recommend avoiding acidic things (orange juice, tomatoes, etc). Your stomach gets messed up enough flying, and acid will just make it worse.

Argyle

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2015, 01:00:15 AM »
Peanut butter is smushable and hence potentially verboten.  I also worry about people with allergies.  (I have a friend whose son becomes dangerously ill if he gets whiff of peanut butter wouldn't like to be responsible for that.)

Apple slices, cereal bars, bready things can do those. 

I was thinking of a fruit salad, corn muffins, and a couple of cookies.  That should get me part way.  Dinner is more of a challenge.  I've done a ton of travelling by plane, but never tried to avoid buying all food before.  So it's an experiment to see if I can make it non-miserable.

Villanelle

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2015, 08:41:55 AM »
As long as you don't wait too long into your 14 hours to eat it, even something like canned chicken mixed with mayo and maybe some sliced avocado, in a tupperware container, would work.  Take it out of the fridge just before you leave and eat it within about 5 hours, and you'd have no worries. 

Actually, I don't see why you couldn't bring an unopened can of chicken, a few mayo packets (grabbed from a fast food place), some avocado (pre cubed or sliced), and mix it all up on the plane.  Then there's no worry about having the mayo out of the fridge.  You'd have to open the chicken in a bathroom to drain it.  Then mix with mayo packets, add the avocado, and enjoy.  With chicken and avocado, you'll have protein and fat and that should be fairly satisfying.  You could also bring crackers so you could make it into a dip or a bunch of small sandwiches. 


madgeylou

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2015, 08:57:40 AM »
I need a full belly when I travel, or else I start to feel very ill, so this is my go-to snack sack:

  • A bunch of sandwiches -- cheese, pb&j, avocado, and bacon sandwiches all hold up reasonably well. Add condiments as needed at the airport.
  • A pack of Trader Joe's Marcona almonds.
  • A nice big high-quality chocolate bar.

Bring an empty water bottle, too -- most domestic airports have places to easily fill them now.

cautiouslyunconventional

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2015, 09:06:51 AM »
I usually bring single serving canned or pouch tuna when I travel. I put it with my liquids just to be safe, though. (Can have water in them.) You might also try a hard cheese like cheddar - it keeps at room temp.

Questionable things like fruit, small cans, and PB sometimes get through security and sometimes dont. With cheap things, it could even be worth risking it and buying something else if it doesn't work.

mm1970

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2015, 09:20:25 AM »
It's not a 14 hour flight, it's 14 hours door to door.  Have to arrive at the airport an hour in advance.  First leg of the trip is an hour.  Then wait in the intermediate airport 2 hours.  Then a four-hour flight.  Then a three-hour layover.  Then an hour-long flight to destination.   Than an hour-long drive.  This is typical of living in an out-of-the-way place and flying to other out-of-the-way places, all within the U.S.  So no free onboard food except the beverage cart.  I have four flights like this coming up.
I am familiar with this type of schedule when visiting family.

Nuts. Dried fruit. String cheese will keep well enough for part of the trip. A salad like Greek with no lettuce, just cucumber, tomato, chickpea, olive, peppers. Some salamis don't need refrigeration. Hard cooked eggs. Raw veggies. Fruit like apples or orange.

mm1970

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2015, 09:21:47 AM »
I've watched TSA take little chocolate milk containers from toddlers. That stuff is ridiculous.

You could take protein powder and fill it up with water after security (if you're into that- it can be quite filling). I usually make some oat/seed bars similar to this http://www.eatingbirdfood.com/2010/05/chewy-oat-squares/ and they are nutritiously delicious. Apple slices (maybe with cheese or almond butter and eat them earlier on), veggie sandwiches, crackers, little chocolate treats, and water water water.
I had to get a pat down when I wouldn't let them open my one year olds baby food pouches.

madgeylou

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2015, 09:32:39 AM »
Roasted chickpeas wth plenty of oil and salt are a great travel snack too. Filling, healthy, yummy.

begood

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2015, 09:44:20 AM »
Bagels, almonds, dark chocolate, oatmeal cookies, apples.

Bagels are great because they're not crumby or smushable. Almonds don't leave nut dust, either. Dark chocolate's appeal is obvious. Oatmeal cookies tend to be more filling than other kinds.

Grapes in a tupperware container are another nice juicy portable fruit.

I always take an empty water bottle and fill it up before we get on the plane. I don't like to have to wait for the beverage service for something to drink.

oldladystache

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2015, 09:54:05 AM »
I always get a couple subway sandwiches the night before and keep them in the refrigerator overnight. Take them out last thing before I leave and pack them in my carryon bag. They've never been questioned, and they stay cold for a very long time.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2015, 10:03:31 AM »
The same kind of food that you take camping/hiking that doesn't need to be refrigerated. Peanut butter sandwiches, beef jerky, trail mix, cherry tomatoes, fruit, etc.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2015, 12:48:08 PM »
My wife and I bring nuts (almonds & walnuts). We also bring 4 shooters of vodka. After we get our complimentary OJ, the party gets started.

Will

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2015, 01:45:25 PM »
Not to go too far off-topic, but what about pills on flights (specifically international)?  Not that I NEED to take them, but every day I take my glucosomine/MSM, fish oil, D3, fiber and multivitamin pills.  I put them in one of those pill-sorter things.  Will that be an issue?  I haven't traveled via plane internationally before.

southern granny

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2015, 01:54:09 PM »
for me it is homemade oatmeal cookies, and packs of cheese crackers and a bag of roasted almonds.  I could survive for days on this.  We got stuck at the Memphis airport once and had to spend the night sleeping on a little pad on the floor.  The food vendors actually ran out of food, so I was very glad for my stash. 

mrshudson

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2015, 02:26:16 PM »
Before the trip:

1) Freeze couple of slices of homemade cold pizza, crustless quiche, omelet or frittata
2) Make a lentil/bean salad
3) Pack a couple of sandwiches. I do one that's sweet, like PBJ, and one non-sweet, like hummus, sun-dried tomatoes, mint, cucumber, olive tapenade.
4) Make a protein shake. I use bananas, berries, avocado, nut butters or silken tofu, spinach, flax/chia seeds etc.
5) Make or buy some fruit leather.
6) Cook a big meal - rice and beans or tofu stir fry.
7) Pack some trail mix/nuts, chickpeas roasted with salt and lime juice, baby carrots, frozen grapes, apples, bananas etc.

For a 14 hours back-to-back, with your flight schedule, this is what I'd do (been on 20 hour trips):

First meal: Eat a protein rich meal before you head out for the trip (I eat a big meal like rice and beans, tofu stir fry, etc.). Carry a protein-shake on your way to the airport and sip along (finish before you enter security). Rinse the container for refilling with water later once you cross security.

Snack: 2-3 hours after meal #1, i.e., after your first flight, at the intermediate flight, before boarding the second flight. PBJ sandwich, lentil/bean salad, baby carrots, apples, etc. for a snack. Drink lots of water. 

Second snack: As soon as your second flight takes off, have a sandwich. Have a non-caffeinated beverage (e.g., water, juice). There will typically be kids who cry during takeoff/landing, so you can't doze off right away anyway.

Nap for a while. Say take a 3 hour nap. You are going to need it. Wake up before your flight lands.

Meal: Have the couple of slices of homemade cold pizza, crustless quiche, omelet or frittata (thawed by now). Lots of water. Do this right after you get down from your second flight.

Third Snack: Fruit leather, trail mix, apples, oatmeal/protein bars etc. Right before boarding your third flight.

Eat up any leftovers before your hour long drive to destination.  I don't know your calorie needs or metabolism so adjust portions accordingly. In general, eat perishable stuff during the earlier portions of journey.

Don't hate yourself too much if you did have to buy one meal or a snack at the airport. Drink lots of water. My rule of thumb is at least two cups of water every hour. Adjust accordingly depending on your hydration needs.

begood

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2015, 02:28:16 PM »
for me it is homemade oatmeal cookies, and packs of cheese crackers and a bag of roasted almonds.  I could survive for days on this.  We got stuck at the Memphis airport once and had to spend the night sleeping on a little pad on the floor.  The food vendors actually ran out of food, so I was very glad for my stash.

I never rely on airport food or airplane food. Too often we're seated at the back of the plane, and whatever snacks they were offering at outrageous prices are all gone by the time they get to me in steerage.

Do your fellow passengers a favor and resist particularly aromatic offerings - an onion smell is tough to ameliorate in a  closed-circulation system. :)

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2015, 02:32:56 PM »
Make sandwiches and take them with you.  Fruit is good, too, especially apples & oranges.

I'm a huge fan of GORP (Good Ol' Raisins and Peanuts)--there's a reason it's a staple of backpackers.

Bananas have one of the highest calorie-per-pound ratios of common foods.

mrshudson

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2015, 02:42:46 PM »
Not to go too far off-topic, but what about pills on flights (specifically international)?  Not that I NEED to take them, but every day I take my glucosomine/MSM, fish oil, D3, fiber and multivitamin pills.  I put them in one of those pill-sorter things.  Will that be an issue?  I haven't traveled via plane internationally before.

Nope, never an issue. If they are all in capsule form, caution - cabin pressure may cause them to break open. Lots of white powder  -> not good if you're randomly screened during customs. So make sure they are regular pill form and not capsules.

U.S. Customs tends to seize fruit and vegetables, so I'd skip/finish those if entering from another country to the U.S. Not a problem if all flights are domestic.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2015, 02:46:25 PM by medusa »

Jesus Christ

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2015, 07:52:29 PM »
Make some stinky sandwiches (tuna, onions, curry, etc.) The stronger the odor the better. Make your plane mates jealous you took the extra effort to prepare some tasty treats.

I also bring in an empty two litter plastic bottle with Kool-aid and sugar mixes handy in small storage bags.

johnny847

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2015, 11:25:27 PM »
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Argyle

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2015, 11:52:22 PM »
Okay, based on what I have in the house (staying on my budget by not buying new stuff), what I like (no nuts), and what will work on the plane, here's what I've decided for the upcoming flight:

Lunch: cheese and tomato sandwich, strawberries, chocolate chip cookies (made 'em yesterday).
Dinner: couscous salad with chickpeas, tomatoes, dried figs, red onions, etc.  Apple.  More chocolate chip cookies.
Snacks: mandarin orange, cheese and crackers.

Thanks, all.  I've written down suggestions for later flights!

Catomi

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #28 on: March 09, 2015, 05:38:11 AM »
If you pack something that needs to be kept cold, I've had no problems using frozen grapes as a cold pack. You'd want to eat the needs-to-be-kept-cold food fairly promptly, since they thaw faster than an actual ice pack, but I've never had a problem taking them through security. Bonus, if you're traveling with small children they find frozen/semi-frozen grapes highky entertaining.

Safe travels.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2015, 08:27:38 AM »
I will not travel without a box of granola bars and a bag of almonds. 

I had a day that was 16 hours (from when we left home until our international flight served a meal) before we finally were able to eat - a horrible comedy of errors of plane delays, sitting on the runway for hours, combined with having to run through airports without even time to go the bathroom to get to the next flight.
It was already a horrible day, I can't imagine it without having had food.


Sibley

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #30 on: March 09, 2015, 09:24:55 AM »
Motion sickness is a problem for me. Bagels are a lifesaver. I also take sweet/salty snacks depending on my mood, though don't eat them half the time.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #31 on: March 09, 2015, 09:28:37 AM »
Freeze yogurt and take it out of the freezer and wrap it in a small towel right before you walk out the door. It will still be frozen when you go through security and they won't notice.

lpep

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #32 on: March 09, 2015, 10:33:33 PM »
Motion sickness is a problem for me. Bagels are a lifesaver. I also take sweet/salty snacks depending on my mood, though don't eat them half the time.

*high five motion sickness buddy!*

Pickled ginger. Just trust me on this. Choke it down before you get on the plane - it's magical.

johnny847

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Re: Food for plane travel?
« Reply #33 on: March 09, 2015, 11:02:51 PM »
Motion sickness is a problem for me. Bagels are a lifesaver. I also take sweet/salty snacks depending on my mood, though don't eat them half the time.

*high five motion sickness buddy!*

Pickled ginger. Just trust me on this. Choke it down before you get on the plane - it's magical.

I'll have to try that sometime. Usually a soda (which is conveniently one of the drinks they serve on flights) does that trick for me.