Airports are not known for their fresh and healthy dining options, but we’re not about to bring a Vitamix in our carry-on. We love simple little hacks to keep us feeling healthy and vibrant in transit — this simple but genius airport shake, for example, rocked our pre-flight routines in the best way. We asked clean cooking pro and cookbook author, Pamela Salzman, to dish on her go-to tips on travel food. If you’re jet-setting this summer this guide might just be a game-changer…
Summer is here, and that often means travel. We all fret over finding passports, what to pack and getting to the airport in time, but I don’t make a move without food from home! Not only does this guarantee I will eat something healthful, I also don’t have to stress about getting through long lines for and making my flight! Getting through security with sustenance for a long flight has become a bit tougher over the years, but I have some pro tips for navigating TSA without causing a fuss.
The rules: Yes, you’re allowed to bring food on a plane! It is, however, always a good idea to take packed food out of your bag and place it in a separate bin while moving through security to avoid TSA calling for a bag search. Beyond that, the main rule to remember is that you must keep any non-solids to 3.4 ounces or less. This includes, but is not limited to, applesauce, hummus, yogurt, overnight oats, chia pudding, salad dressing and nut butters. Fortunately, many manufacturers have little versions of these things, like Justin’s almond butter packets. In general, I like to bring food that doesn’t need refrigeration or special handling, doesn’t smell funky (no hard boiled eggs or tuna salad), and isn’t awkward to eat.
My go-to snacks… are raw veggies like carrots, celery, bell pepper and jicama; durable fruits like apples and oranges or cut fruit in containers like melon or blueberries; small containers of hummus or bean dips; nut and seed-based trail mix or Chickpea Trail Mix; granola bars or low-sugar protein bars like Naturally Clean Eats; dates with nut butter; or homemade Bliss Balls.
For long flights, I spend some time preparing an actual meal. I like plant-based salads with light protein like quinoa or legumes that can be assembled the night before for a stress-free travel day. I love this Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl for something filling that keeps well for several hours. Kale salads also work well since they can be dressed in advance without getting soggy. Other go-to meals for me include rice and bean bowls with random veggies, legume pasta salads, veggie sushi, summer rolls and hummus and veg sandwiches.
Drinks: Although you can’t bring liquids through security, you can ask for hot water or regular water on the plane to make a quick protein shake, tea or tonic. I prefer to bring my own reusable insulated bottle.
How to pack: These paper boxes are great disposable options to carry your salads and bowls on the plane. Or another creative meal tip is to bring a container of cooked pasta with sauce, veggies and cheese on the side in separate small bags and ask the attendant for a small cup of hot water to reheat the pasta when you are ready to eat (let the pasta warm in the water for a few minutes, drain the water back into the small cup, add toppings, and enjoy!). Editor’s note: We also love these non-disposable tins for travel too!