15 Homemade Meals You Can Carry on the Airplane

updated Jun 5, 2019
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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. The New York Times offered some tips today for packing your own picnic for plane travel, and inspired by their ideas, here are a few specific recipes that will make it through security and onto the plane with you.

This article gathered tips and ideas from chefs on eating well while traveling. One of the more interesting tips 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.

Read the story: Pack a Picnic for Your Next Flight at The New York Times

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.

15 Homemade Meals You Can Carry on the Airplane

• 1 Peppery Whole Wheat Pasta with Wilted Chard – Easy to warm up with that hot water method.
• 2 Lemony Pesto Pasta with Edamame & Almonds – Use smaller, bite-sized pasta.
• 3 Broccoli and Feta Pasta Salad – Feta is a firm cheese, and it is not a problem to leave it unrefrigerated in this salad for a few hours.

• 4 Winter Wheat Berry Salad with Figs and Red Onion – A yummy, filling salad.
• 5 Late Summer Lentil Salad – Lentils make a great on-the-go meal.
• 6 Warm Wheat Salad (Or, Reverse Tabbouleh) – Another simple meal — not too heavily spiced or flavored.
• 7 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!

• 8 Chickpea of the Sea – A vegetarian answer to tuna fish sandwich. (Less smelly, too.)
• 9 Cuban Sandwich – A substantial lunch to get you through a whole day of travel.
• 10 Farmer’s Lunch Sandwich – This can be whipped up in a minute, and will nourish and satisfy.

• 11 Chana Masala – This dish is fine at room temperature all day long, and it heats up well with the hot water method.
• 12 Lima Beans With Cumin-Mint Dressing – Fresh, tasty beans.
• 13 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.
• 14 Caprese Sticks – Put a salad on a stick!
• 15 Veggies Stored In Dip – Use small, 3-ounce or less containers for your dip, or put smears of dip in sandwich baggies, and load up with cut veggies. Put everything inside a TSA-approved quart bag and munch away.

What are your favorite foods for flying and travel in general? Any good ways to keep yourself nourished? We avoided obvious snack foods here, like cheese sticks, granola bars and trail mix, eschewing them in favor of more meal-like options. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t good as well. Our favorite thing about that New York Times article, in fact, was the suggestion to eat a Slim-Fast bar — “It’s fantastic with Champagne.”


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