Katie's Healthy Bites: Brown-Bagging on the Road -- Airplane Travel
For those of us who have jobs that require travel, simply packing a lunch to take to work is not always so easy. Here are some tips for brown-bagging your lunch for car or air travel to help you stick to your daily brown-bag vow this month.
Airplane travel is a bit trickier then travel by car or train since there's a security check is involved. Luckily, all airplane-friendly meals also work for car trips, bus trips and train rides, so adapt accordingly.
- Pack lightly: similar to the hassle of lugging a big bag through the airport, you don’t want to be schlepping your lunch. Think small, compact foods and non-bulky packaging. Light-weight, re-usable lunch bags help insulate your food and can easily be stowed in your suitcase when you're finished.
- Pack non-perishables: using a water bottle as an ice pack is out since you can’t take liquids through security and a thawed ice pack is be the last thing you want to worry about for the rest of your trip. Pack foods that won’t perish quickly and think bite-size since you can’t bring a knife though. Some good ideas:
- Babybel cheese or string cheese
- Unsalted trail mix (added salt adds bloat . . . especially when flying) — you can add some dark chocolate chips for a sweet treat
- Unsalted popcorn—its great for noshing because you get to eat a bunch without packing on the calories
- Almond butter and apple sandwich
- Peanut butter and banana sandwich
- Your favorite nut butter with whole-grain pretzels or rice cakes
- Unpeeled fruit like grapes, apples or pears
- Raw veggies like carrots, celery and cherry tomatoes
- Dehydrated/dried fruits like banana chips or dried mango (opt for varieties without added sugar)
- Bars like KIND bars and Kashi granola bars also contain protein so they are both portable and filling
- If you are taking a short trip or are up for the ice pack, here are some no-fuss options (cutlery not needed)
- Light chicken salad with crackers
- Hummus with raw veggies and whole grain pita
- Salad with beans
- Some foods to avoid:
- Questionable liquids: Foods like yogurt, applesauce, juice boxes and salad dressings might be considered a liquid so leave them at home
- Fruits you have to peel: they can be quite messy and result in sticky fingers which is never fun
- Delicate fruits: peaches and nectarines bruise easily and berries can mash into a mess
- Smelly foods: planes are cramped and you won’t make friends with your neighbor if you pack strong smelling foods like tuna, raw onions, lots of garlic or stinky cheese.
- Spicy foods: don’t risk an upset stomach. Airplane bathrooms are the pits to begin with . . . you don’t want to have to spend extra time in there or even worse, risk there being a line.
- Salty foods: plane rides can be really dehydrating so stay away from foods loaded with sodium, or compensate by drinking plenty of water.
Stay tuned for Brown Bagging on the Road: Vacations and Business Travel