Travel with me and you’ll never go hungry. It’s what makes me a great travel partner – the care and attention I give to travel food. Also, the amount.
It boils down to two things:
- I don’t understand people who travel without any food. What if you can’t get food, what if you get stuck on a runway for an hour, have a layover and there’s no food or nothing that you like. How confident are you in the airline and airports ability to provide food you like that you can travel without a single item of food?
- Most importantly, I don’t eat airplane food. I have too many unanswered questions about it. When was it made, how has it been stored, who made it, what is that odd looking ingredient? A deli roll that expires in August when it’s February frightens me – what are they putting in it so it doesn’t spoil? I’ve heard enough flight attendants say they’ll never ever drink the coffee on planes because those jugs aren’t so clean. And nothing is more frightening than the idea of eating something that doesn’t sit well with you and getting sick 30 000 feet off the ground.
When it comes to packing food for the airplane I follow two rules;
- Absolutely nothing smelly or overly fragrant. Things like eggs, tuna, garlic, very fragrant spicing are a no no. Curry may be delicious but not at 30 000 feet in an enclosed tin with no open windows. I refuse to be that person whose meal can be smelt throughout the entire cabin. Smelly food may also lead to smelly bags or smelly items coming from said bag. No thanks. And lastly, I tend to be more sensitive to strong flavors on planes and find that muted, lighter food makes me feel better.
- Food must be able to keep well and be eaten easily. Planes generally run on the colder side which helps with spoiling, but I still go with foods that can be out of refrigeration for hours without going bad. They also need to keep well ie. No fruits that get mushed or veggies that go soggy and they need to be eaten easily, so no wraps, overly stuffed sandwiches or complicated meals.
When tasked with the mission of providing food for 30 hours of travel I had to think of breakfast, lunch and supper plus snacks that would travel well and feel somewhat nutritious. Because of the long travel time and that despite the amount of food I travel with, it all goes into a backpack – not a cooler bag – I did not get my 5 helpings of fruit and veggies that day. In the grander scheme of things, one day of not meeting your produce needs is ok. It’s all about balance.
So, what did I take? well I’m sharing my plane food diary. Note this is the food I ate, not the food I packed, because I’d like to preserve some impression of sanity you may have of me and not look like the person who thinks she’s travelling to a remote uninhabited island.
Take-off and Landing: Chewing gum. The only time it’s acceptable to chew gum as hard as you can is during take-off and landing. It’s the only thing that keeps my ears from popping.
Supper: Flight 1 started in the evening, which meant the first meal was dinner. I made a quinoa and roasted vegetable salad. I wanted a supper that wasn’t a sandwich and felt like a really good nourishing meal. I cooked the quinoa in vegetable broth (key for making it taste nicer) and roasted sweet potato and peppers with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. I combined the veggies and quinoa in a plastic Tupperware and voila supper is served (fyi I did the exact same meal on the return flight, had it much later in the journey and it still held up!).
In between every meal: I drank loads of water (every time they offered) and ginger ale (every time we hit turbulence).
Snack 1: Pretzel sticks. I didn’t feel great but was peckish and these were great. Eaten while waiting for flight 2.
Snack 2: 2 mini chocolates, because when you’re offered chocolate you don’t say no.
Breakfast: This was on flight number 2. I had Wazoogles supernatural oats (salted caramel and mulberry flavour), mint tea with honey, water and my daily vitamins. These oats were made for travel, in fact that’s when I mainly eat them. They’re choc full of fancy superfoods and pack a good amount of protein. I asked the flight attendant to fill the container with hot water and let it sit for a few minutes and voila breakfast was served. They are extremely filling, like half a tub would be plenty – we shared 2 tubs between 3 of us.
I also asked the flight attendant for a cup of hot water and added some mint tea and honey. I always take mint tea on flights – it’s a tummy soother and feels very comforting and relaxing up in the air, and just ask for hot water. Many thanks to the flight attendants who made this lovely meal happen. I have yet to find out if flight attendants feel about hot water as they do about the coffee but am hopeful it’s safe. For sweetness, I used this honey which I wrote about here because teeny tiny travel sized tubes of honey!
Lunch: Rye bagel with cheese and orange juice. The bagel was delicious, but I regretted the orange juice. Too sweet and artificial tasting. I stuck to water and Ginger ale for the rest of the trip.
Snack 3: Sesame Breadsticks. I’m a great traveller until turbulence hits and then I want to hurl. These bread sticks kept that wave of nausea at bay. Highly recommend traveling with crackers, pretzels or bread sticks if you get air sick.
Three meals, Three snacks and an endless supply of water. That’s how you eat for 30 hours of travel when you don’t eat airplane food and insist on travelling with a bag dedicated to nothing else but food.
I’m not the only one right? What food do you travel with?
Zissy is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to make things, do things and wear things.