It’s not always easy to stick to a healthy diet while traveling, and one of the worst places to blow it is at the airport. So much airport food is heavy, tasteless, expensive, and loaded with fat and calories, so I suggest bringing your own food onboard. Besides, starting your flight with a tummy full of bad food just doesn’t feel good. It takes a little effort to bring your own food, but to me it’s worth it because I feel better when I eat better.

Obviously, it’s easier to bring your own food onboard when you’re leaving from home. If I’m visiting family or staying in a vacation rental, I can usually whip up something for the return flight, or maybe I’ll pick up a healthier, fresher lunch in a local shop before I get to the airport. Just remember to skip the drink — you can’t bring that beverage through security.

Sometimes I bring a kale salad in a baggie with a plastic fork, and although it looks weird, it works. For morning flights, I find that eating food with more carbs settles my stomach better, so sandwiches are a good choice, but depending on what’s in it, you may have to worry about how long it will last without refrigeration. One way around that is to get a PackIt freezable lunch bag. You keep it in your freezer, and when you’re ready to use it, the frozen gel in the lining will keep your food cold for up to 10 hours, so you can get your food through security and onboard without worrying about botulism poisoning.

A few things that I pack for breakfast are:

  • A hummus sandwich. I make an extra-thick hummus and put it between two slices of whole-grain bread. This way, my hummus won’t get confiscated as an unauthorized gel. I usually put extra veggies in the recipe to make a more complete meal. (A normal person might pack a peanut-butter sandwich since it’s easier, but I’m not a fan of PB.)
  • Sliced cheese, grapes, veggie sticks, whole-grain crackers. I put everything in a separate baggie.
  • Meal in a Scone! This is a recent invention. I had a lot of veggies in the fridge on the day before my flight and I wanted to use at least some of them. I also wanted to figure out a way to have a balanced meal — protein, carbs, fat, and veggies — in a small, portable form. I decided to use oats as a whole grain, gluten-free carb, and I chose tuna for protein (don’t worry — they won’t stink up the cabin!). It didn’t take long to mix everything together, and these savory scones came out pretty tasty. Unlike regular scones, these are green from the spinach, but just like regular scones, they have a nice, tender crumb. These would be good for hikes, or any time you want a healthy but yummy snack. Here’s my recipe:

Bringing your own food onboard - Joyful Heart TravelSandy’s Savory Spinach & Tuna Scones

Preheat oven to 400.

1 cup thick cut rolled oats
1 cup thick cut rolled oats, blended to flour (I used a Nutri Ninja blender)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
cayenne pepper to taste
1 cup shredded carrots, roughly chopped (a few pulses in the Ninja)
1/2 bag of baby spinach, roughly chopped (ditto for the Ninja)
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 can tuna fish
1 egg
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup milk

Mix all dry ingredients. Add egg and olive oil, and slowly add milk until just moist (you made need more or less). Shape into patties, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 20 – 25 minutes until done. I keep the leftovers in the refrigerator, and either let them sit out for awhile before serving, or put them in a 350-degree oven for a few minutes to re-heat.

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