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Packing an Airplane-Friendly Meal


The airline industry has certainly come a long way over the years – good work, guys! – but how come the food on planes sucks as much as ever? It’s not like your options at the airport are much better, either, and trying to get anything edible through security is a game of chance, when the rules are as clear as mud pie.

This begs the question: What are you supposed to eat when you have a 16-hour flight to Thailand with a stop in Dubai ahead of you? Maybe you’re savvy enough to enjoy the comforts of a VIP lounge, but you still need enough fuel to make it this far. So let’s take a look at some simple, delicious recipes you can pack away in your hand luggage.

Quick bites for shorter flights

Depending on the length of your flight you could need anything from a small snack to full-blown lunchbox.

For an energy boost…

Forget the bag of nuts from those overpriced shops after security; chuck your own trail mix in a bag and keep it in your hand luggage. This is a nutrient-rich energy boost that takes a matter of seconds to put together – and trail mix doesn’t have to be dull if you get creative with your ingredients.

Alternative: chop up your favourite veg, pack a few wholemeal crackers and squeeze some humus into a 3.4oz (100ml) container – done!

For that fuller feeling…

Comfort food doesn’t have to be unhealthy, but you want something hearty and the ultimate filler for short flights is the humble sandwich. Pretty much everything tastes good between two slices of bread and you can make yours as modest or mean as you like. In fact, there’s nothing humble about half the brutes in this list of sandwich ideas. Just remember to wrap your creation in a clear sandwich bag – then another sealable plastic bag –  and don’t go anywhere near that roll of kitchen foil

Alternative: As there aren’t many cold comfort foods to choose from, your best alternative would be a snazzy pasta or potato salad.

Long-haul flights

Long-haul flights are a different animal altogether and you need a much larger survival pack for this trip. Forget choosing between energy and comfort for long distances – pack both!

For an energy boost…

Okay, so let’s start things of with an energising lunchbox. Check out this epic veggie nori rolls recipe – a clash of crunchy and creamy textures rolled into a raw, vegan energy boost. They’re packed with all the plant-based protein you need to keep going and they’re surprisingly filling too. And if that’s not enough for you, chuck in some of that trail mix we talked about earlier or go for your favourite fruit and a handful of nuts.

Alternative: If vegan recipes just don’t cut it for you then try your hands at some Korean kimbap instead – think sushi rolls, but with beef!

For that fuller feeling…

Nori rolls will keep you going for a while, but no amount of vegetables will get you through this flight – so it’s time to break out the comfort food! Once again your challenge is to make something that really hits the spot, which you can keep in your hand luggage and eat later. This only really leaves one option: the food that tastes just as good hot or cold – pizza! We’re not talking about last night’s takeaway leftovers either, because these homemade pizza recipes are the ultimate taste of quick and easy comfort food for later.

Alternative: Asia offers up a more exotic option with a number of cold sesame noodle dishes from across the continent.

Stay updated on security rules

Though it can be difficult to keep up with regularly-changing airport security regulations, it pays to try and follow them—not only because you want to get through the queue faster, but also because you want to ensure that your delicious snacks aren’t going to end up tossed in the bin before you even get to your gate. If you want to be super careful, you can simply avoid the liquid foods and keep your sauces to a minimum.

How do you keep fuelled and fed when you’ve got flights to contend with? We always want your tips and tricks, so please leave them in the comments. Bon appetit!