My friend travels frequently and is looking for "the perfect airplane snack"

posted Jan 7, 2011, 12:19 PM by   [ updated Feb 11, 2011, 11:33 AM ]
Question: "My friend travels frequently and is looking for "the perfect airplane snack."  He needs something that is 1) easy on the stomach yet substantial enough to tide him over, 2) normally available to buy at airports once he's made it thru security, and 3) not messy/hard to carry on. I know you'd be able to come up with the perfect solution, so I look forward to hearing your suggestion(s)! "

Answer: Here's a list of portable snacks for air travel that can either be packed ahead of time or often found at the airport.
  • Apples. Though tasty, peaches, pears, and oranges can be messy to eat, and bananas get mushy. Apples can withstand a lot more abuse.
  • Protein-rich raw, unsalted nuts, such as almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, walnuts or even soy nuts. Tote these for their sheer indestructibility and relative indifference to air exposure. Look for ones that are unsalted.
  • Dried fruit. If packing it ahead of time, empty a few handfuls into resealable bags to keep the sugars in fruits like raisins from crystallizing. (Toss the less airtight boxes.) For items like mangoes and apples, seek out those with no added sugar, to keep calories down and crunchiness at bay.
  • Trail mix. Combine dried fruit and nuts in a snack size baggie for a sweet and crunchy treat.  Look for trail mixes at the airport without candy in them. 
  • Vacuum-sealed tuna packets or tuna-salad kits (complete with light mayo and crackers). Like Lunchables, but for grown-ups.
  • Low-sodium turkey or ostrich jerky.  Jerky is a great portable protein just look for ones with 20% or less of your daily sodium intake.  I recommend Ostrim brand jerky.  Here's a link to their website:
  • Celery sticks, baby carrots, olives, cherry tomatoes. These veggies can withstand a fair amount of jostling and time away from the refrigerator.
  • Packets of plain instant oatmeal. Empty one into a travel mug before a flight, ask an attendant for boiling water, and you have a quick breakfast with no cup necessary. Many fast food places located at the airport are now offering oatmeal, such as Starbucks and McDonald's.  Just ask for it without extra sweetener.
  • Whole grain cereal. Instead of chips, pack some high fiber cereal in a snack size baggie for easy munching.  Look for cereals with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Natural nut butter sandwich.  Make your own sandwich with either peanut, almond, or cashew butter on whole wheat bread or crackers.  Pack it in a small Tupperware container to prevent it from getting squished.
  • Energy bars. Energy bars are an easy grab-n-go snack.  Look for more brands such as Lara, Luna, Pure, Kashi, Kind, or the Zone.
  • Fast Food airport options: Fruit and yogurt parfait; turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with veggies and mustard; plain, small hamburger and side salad; items from light menu (such as Taco Bell's Fresco menu).
I hope these suggestions help.  Please let me know if you have additional questions.
Healthy regards,