Last week, my husband and I got back from a trip to the U.S. where we were visiting with family. After recovering from the time difference between continents and daylight savings time here in Denmark on Sunday, I’m back in the kitchen and full throttle!
I’m grateful for the opportunity to fly and visit loved ones in the U.S. However, along with travel comes the challenge of eating well and continuing to avoid gluten, dairy, and corn on the road. As you know, it’s not easy! The good news is that with a little planning, you can continue to avoid your food intolerances/allergies, and can maintain a relatively healthy diet without starving. In this post, I’m explaining WHY I food plan when I travel and exactly HOW I geared up for the trip we just took.
Airplane food. (Cringe) When I fly, I request a gluten-free meal. It’s been my experience that you cannot request a meal that’s gluten-free AND dairy-free. You have to choose between gluten-free and dairy-free. Corn-free isn’t even an option. That’s understandable. It’s an airplane, not a restaurant. Because of that, I make and bring my own meal to eat when the in-flight dinner is served. For this trip, I made my Crispy Quinoa and Green Vegetable Cakes and was sooooooooo glad I did! Otherwise, I was going to have to eat this.
The gluten-free meal they served had bread that contained corn. There was cheese on the side. It’s the triangular thing wrapped in gold foil in the back right-hand corner next to the pineapple. The pineapple was good, actually! The dinner was chicken with broccoli. I don’t even want to show you what that looked like. I busted out my carrot sticks and crispy quinoa cakes and enjoyed the view out the window. Pretty, huh? It may be Greenland.
As a person who can’t have gluten, dairy, or corn, the biggest challenge with traveling is access to food I can actually eat. We had some time at O’Hare airport when we landed in Chicago and I strolled around one of the airport convenience stores. Corn syrup or corn was in almost everything the store offered from trail mixes to protein bars, chips, basic chocolate candy, juice, sports drinks, and soda. This is normally not an issue since I don’t grocery shop in the airport. But my point is that when you’ve been traveling for 10 hours and are hungry, you want to make sure you have something in your bag that you CAN eat. Traveling gives you a chance to pack your own food. So, let’s look at some ideas for what to pack and how to pack it all.
Here are 5 tips to help you when packing food for a flight. It’s all about planning and having systems for dealing with it. Once you know what to do, it’s smooth sailing.
Tips for packing
- Don’t pack things with a strong smell that could offend other passengers. There are enough funky smells on the plane. Keep it neutral and basic. Plus, you don’t want your bags to smell like food.
- Bring some frozen muffins to keep your other cold items cold until you eat them. Wrap the muffins in individual portions and pack the number of servings you need. Tin foil and ziplock bags are your friends here. Muffins are great for breakfast or a snack, so they’re my “multi-purpose item.”
- Use a small ice pack to keep things cold until you arrive at the airport. Once you arrive at the airport, put the ice pack into your checked luggage if you have some. If you don’t have checked baggage and you have a long drive to the airport, you can use a small bag of ice and then toss the bag of ice when you go through baggage check.
- Pack something with protein to keep you full.
- Bring some sort of treat. I always end up wanting a treat. (No offense, carrot sticks) So plan on it! Again, use tin foil and ziplock bags. Very helpful!
Here are food 4 suggestions for foods that will keep you full without making you bloated, puffy, over-sugared, or calorically depleted on a long trip.
PREPARATION: All you need are carrots and a ziplock bag. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
WHEN I ATE THEM: I ate these at the airport with a glass of wine (beer for my skat) and with my dinner on the airplane.
PREPARATION: See the recipe on Sulten Skat right here.
WHEN I ATE THEM: I ate these on our flight. They are filled with vegetables and protein and kept me full from Copenhagen to Chicago.
PREPARATION: See the recipe on Sulten Skat right here. I made them into muffins using a mini muffin/bundt pan so that the portions were easily divided for each day. But you can just use muffin cups, too. I baked them a week ahead of time and froze them. Then I took them out of the freezer a few minutes before we left for the airport and put them in my carry-on bag.
WHEN I ATE THEM: I ate these for breakfast every morning on our trip. Things served at the hotel were muffins, breads, and sugary/corn-syrup infused cereals. I also had one once we landed in the U.S. and were waiting at O’Hare for our ride. Dang, I was hungry! That’s why my husband calls me “Sulten Skat”.
PREPARATION: I’ll be sharing this recipe in April. I was working on it before I left for our trip and finally perfected it the day we left for our trip. So stay tuned for that recipe. They happen to be low-fat brownies. Traditional brownies have SO much fat in them and I just don’t think all of that fat is necessary to make them delicious. I finally found a way to make them take delicious while having less fat. You’ll just have to trust me on this! This was our trip “treat”. It’s an important part of the food planning!
WHEN I ATE THEM: My husband and I had these for dessert a few nights when we wanted a treat after dinner. We also shared one on a long car trip when we were traveling within the U.S. Our family was trying to get in on this brownie action, too!
Remember, it’s all about the planning. I hope this helps and that you’ll come up with some of your own favorite things to pack for one of your upcoming trips. What some of your favorite things to pack are when traveling? I’d love to know!
Safe travels and happy eating!