9 Homemade Meals You Can Carry on the Airplane

updated Nov 16, 2023
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Credit: Leela Cyd

Are you traveling this summer? Taking a jet plane to faraway places? Nourishment often collapses as you step onto the jet bridge; food onboard is expensive and rarely worth eating, and airports offer their own torturous temptations of buttery Auntie Anne’s pretzels and overpriced beer. But a day spent in Air World doesn’t have to be an undernourished one. Here are a few specific recipes that will make it through security (psst, here are the TSA’s guidelines on what you can bring on a plane).

One tip we learned about recently suggested freezing your food before travel, so that it thaws out cold and fresh just as you’re ready to eat. This is especially useful for yogurt (which should be packed in a TSA-friendly size and in a quart bag). One chef even carries shrimp through this way. (Ooh la la — bet his fellow passengers are jealous!)

Other ideas included warming pasta with hot water from the flight attendants, and packing simple meals like sandwiches or grain salads.

Here are a few recipes from our own archives that line up with these tips — sandwiches, pasta, grain salads, and other meals that will nourish and fill you up — all without running afoul of TSA or the airlines.

And don’t forget: drinking lots and lots of water is the primary key to feeling well during air travel. Those airplanes are so dry, and our systems get bloated and wacked out during travel. Drinking plenty of water makes a substantial difference.

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Broccoli and Feta Pasta Salad
A recipe for pasta salad filled with broccoli, feta, and Kalamata olives, which can be made ahead.
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Barley Salad With Green Garlic and Snap Peas

A more lively grain salad. If you’re OK eating garlic on a flight, then go for it!

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Chickpea of the Sea Sandwich

A vegetarian answer to tuna fish sandwich. (Less smelly, too.)

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Cuban Sandwich
Here's how you can make the authentic, delicious sandwich at home.
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Farmer's Lunch Sandwich

This can be whipped up in a minute, and will nourish and satisfy.

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Slow-Cooker Chana Masala
Use your slow cooker to make this spiced tomato and chickpea stew.
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Potatoes, Green Beans, and Corn in Lemon-Brown Butter Sauce

Don’t forget about potatoes! They make a great base for lunch, especially when they’re in a non-mayo dressing.

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