We all know airport and airline food just isn’t good. At all. But many of us get stuck behind security without a solid snacking strategy — and that could lead to undesirable choices at 35,000 feet. Whether we fail to pack healthy snacks because we forget, or because our pantries are devoid of deliciousness, the following strategies and snack ideas ensure you have solid TSA-approved snacks on hand.
Here are our best strategies and snack hacks:
1. START AT THE GROCERY STORE
Any great snacking strategy starts when you’re at the grocery store. Avoid packaged products and start thinking about ingredients and foods that travel well and sate your cravings without much preparation or accoutrements.
A few things that always make it into my grocery cart:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables that don’t require refrigeration such as apples, oranges, bananas, pears, carrots, radishes and avocados.
- Whole-grain crackers and popcorn.
- Charcuterie meats and cheeses that can be unrefrigerated.
- Olives and cured vegetables.
- Sturdy greens that can withstand warm temperatures without wilting, such as kale and collards.
2. PRE-TRAVEL PREP
Remember, the point of packing travel snacks is to avoid processed products and the preservatives they contain. When you’re at the store, think about things that can be eaten as they are or with little preparation.
- Sliced carrots and apples kept in a plastic bag.
- Sliced cheeses or meats.
- Small containers of hummus, yogurt or your favorite spread, just make sure they’re less than 4-ounces.
- A kale salad, pre-prepped and stored it in a ready-to-go travel container.
3. ACCESSORIZE YOUR IN-FLIGHT SNACK BREAK
The biggest trick to carrying on your own plane snacks is having the containers or accessories to do it easily and mess-free.
Great packing ideas include:
- Find a great travel container that’s watertight and suitable to carry salads, soups or entrees without leaking.
- Pack an extra fork or spoon in your luggage. Chopsticks can also be quite handy!
- Pack extra sealable bags to store delicious ingredients.
READ MORE > THE HEALTHIEST AIRPORT FOOD IN AMERICA
4. PACK THE SNACKS
The night before or the morning of your flight, pull together a few snacks to pack. Some favorites include:
- Savory nibbles: Slice pieces of cheese and wrap them in plastic or cheese paper, include slices of apple, a few crackers or a small container of olives to enjoy alongside them.
- Bananas and almond butter: A banana and a squeeze-packet of almond butter go a long way on an very early or very short flight.
- Protein pack: Slices of proscuitto, wrapped in parchment paper, cured meats or a small handful of toasted almonds are great sources of powerful in-flight protein
- Fast and fresh kale salad: De-rib and chop a small bunch of kale, massage with lemon and olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer to a leak-proof container and top with your favorite flavors: grilled chicken or steak, avocado or any fresh vegetables you have on hand. The salad keeps well up to 3 hours outside of the refrigerator.
- Portable fruit basket: Slice apples, pears or oranges or carry fruits whole. Enjoy with nut butters, crackers, cheeses or simply on their own as a quick in-flight snack.
- Crudites at 30K feet: Slice carrots, radishes, cucumbers, peppers or your favorite vegetable and pack them in a plastic bag. Toss them in your bag along with a small (less than 4-ounce) jar of hummus, pesto or your favorite dip.