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Travel Tip: Preparing Food for Your (Long-Haul) Flight

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This post provides ideas for food to pack for flights.

In our post, In-Flight Essentials, we discuss how you should plan to pack your own food for your next flight. Airlines provide snacks for purchase and a full meal for a long-haul flight, but it’s often the case that what is on offer is disappointing or will not meet your dietary requirements (even with a special meal request).

That’s why we recommend packing the amount of food you would need to feel full if every bit of food offered from the airline didn’t meet you needs. This is especially true if you have food allergies or sensitivities.



  • There is a 3 ounce/100 ml liquid limit to get through airports – this rule is not enforced if you purchase something while in the airline terminal
  • More stringent airports may classify guacamole, hummus, salsas etc. as liquids so don’t bring an entire tub in case this is how the airport of transit functions
  • We have tried to select items that are low sugar & salt (to balance blood sugar & avoid inflammation + bloating) and avoid foods that have dairy (that could spoil)
  • At the conclusion of a flight to another country, you may need to abandon any fruit, nuts or seeds, due to agriculture laws

Ideas – can be prepared fresh or pucharsed at most grocery stores

  • Sandwich: the options are endless
  • Protein bars
  • Sliced fruit: Apples, avocado, sliced bell pepper
  • Banana
  • Peanut butter packets
  • Granola bars
  • Snack bites
  • Trail mix
  • Popcorn
  • Chocolate
  • Falafel & hummus
  • Granola
  • Crispy chickpeas
  • Chips & guacamole
  • Edamame
  • Crackers
  • Cereals
  • Fried rice (without egg)
  • Rice balls
  • Breakfast cookies
  • Breakfast cake
  • Nuts: Pistachios, Walnuts, Almonds, Hazelnut etc.
  • Ravioli or tortellini with pesto (any kind that is not dairy-based/does not require refrigeration)

And also pack…

  • Wet wipes/alcohol wipes — wipe down your tray table ahead of eating
  • Cutlery: fork, spoon and (bamboo or plastic) knife

A case study: how flights magnify how a lack of preparation can lead to hunger or indigestion

On a long-haul, 15 hour flight to Sydney, Australia, we took a lot of care in packing a hearty bag of snacks and meals to make sure we were prepared in case the in-flight selections left something to be desired.

Our flight did not depart from my port of origin until 11:05PM. We ate a large meal at home prior to leaving for the airport. After boarding, we wrapped up in my blanket, put on ours eye masks and caught eight hours of sleep.

Upon waking up, the flight attendants were passing out hot meals. We were not surprised that breakfast meal served was dairy-based, something that does agree with our tummies.

Even though we had ordered a dairy-free meal, the airline got their wires crossed and forgot to bring the special meals on the flight. That’s where preparation was key in avoiding frustration. Had we not packed a number of tasty, healthy food choices, we would have been at the mercy of whatever the selection was available at the Sydney Airport, some seven and a half hours later.


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