I am en route to Germany for a few days. Aside from being away from my kitchen, the most difficult part of air travel for me is the impossible task of finding good airport food. It’s expensive and makes me feel sick! On our way home from Las Vegas in May, I conceded and bought a $14 salad. From a cooler next to some magazines. The lettuce was turning brown. It was soggy. It was by far the healthiest thing I could find, and it was expensive and disgusting.
Indulging is one of the great things about travel, but, personally, I would rather save my indulgances for the bakeries (and beer halls!) in my little German neighborhood – not for a crazy meal at the Chili’s in whatever-concourse in O’Hare. Indulging, for me, includes finances and nutrients. Plus – don’t even get me started on trying to find good dairy-free snacks!
I can’t imagine I’m the only one who’s been there – wondering what the heck they’re going to eat at the airport, or how to stay satiated on a plane for 8+ hours (without eating the mysterious brown gravies). See my tips below, which include what I’m taking in my lil’ backpack this week.
- Avoid liquids. This is a no-brainer, but security frowns upon anything from drinkable to spreadable. This includes containers of nut butters, Nutella, etc. If you want to eat these things, make them into sandwiches or wraps before you leave home. I’ve packed two wraps with spinach hummus, hard-boiled egg whites, and fresh red pepper – on my fave tortillas.
- Introduce some texture. When you are 10,000 ft. above the ground, things get a little weird. For me, my stomach usually feels like it’s upside-down, my ears feel funny, and I am just generally pretty uncomfortable. Adding some fresh, raw vegetables or crunchy roasted nuts into your snack pack can make a huge difference. This time I will have fresh red peppers and some tamari-roasted almonds. And the most amazing granola, ever: Sarah Britton’s chunky, chocolatey, buckwheaty goodness.
- Drink lots of water. This is a big one. That jet lag feeling that brings you down the day after you get somewhere? It’s mostly dehydration! If you can, bring an empty (large) bottle and fill it up at water fountains, or in a bathroom. Airline staff don’t often give you a whole bottle to yourself, and you need to drink more than what they will bring around. My ladyfriend Teresa of Tremendous Times introduced me to the collapsible water bottle. Do that!
- Bring energy-rich foods. You won’t have a ton of extra space, so what you do bring should be packed with lots of good things: healthy fats, sugars, etc. Don’t just bring bags of yogurt-covered raisins, or skittles. You do actually want to stay full. Trust me. I made these cookies that will surely tide me over – plus, they are really dense and make me drink a ton of water!
- Keep things organized. This is something I just realized is important last night. I’ve always packed snacks, but I’ve kept them all in their separate little containers, floating around my carry-on. This is ridiculous. If I want something, I don’t want to be that freak who is pulling out twenty different bags. I have the separate containers of stuff, but then put them all into a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Now, I can just pull out the whole dang thing and find what I want.
- Plan beyond the plane. You never know what snack options you’ll have at your destination. I eat lots of little meals throughout the day, so my body is used to it. If you are traveling with people who only eat three meals a day (Why would you do that? Why??), your body is going to flip out at 10am when it’s ready to eat. Bring snacks during your days, on the off chance your mates don’t want to stop every two hours to eat. But, like, why are you friends with those people anyway??
Here are some links that I always look to for travel food inspiration. It is basically a love letter to Sarah Britton of My New Roots. <3
Double-chocolate almond butter trail cookies – vegan and hearty. Great for breakfast, too!
Candy bars that won’t make you feel like shit!
I’m not traveling with soup, but what about chickpea croutons??
Purple power salad. Imagine eating this… vs. salisbury steak, airline-style.
All my love from cruising altitude…