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Airport and Airline Food… Jet Lag or Jet Set? (2)

Dear Ellen, this spring and summer I have tons of airline travel – for leisure and business – how can I manage my food and eat healthy through Airports and Flights?

On the Plane

Many airlines no longer offer meals except on longer flights and it is not so simple to bring food to the airport these days for security reasons. In addition, a recent survey found that airlines have a long way to go in making their meals and snacks nutritious and low in calories. However, some improvements in providing healthier meals have been observed and will probably continue as customers become more interested in what they eat and put pressure on airlines. Here are some on-flight tips to be jet-set!

Order ahead. If you do find yourself on a meal-service flight, most airlines websites will indicate whether they serve meals and define the options available such as low-cholesterol, vegetarian, etc.

Pack your own. If you bring your own food, you have total control over what you eat. High protein, high-fibre choices that help make you feel fuller, longer such as nuts, Juice PLUS+ Complete Bars or fruits travel well and are allowed at the security line.

Drink water. A steady supply of water can help prevent altitude dehydration and keep you walking up and down the aisle to the bathroom to keep you moving which is especially important on long flights.

Watch or work instead of eat. Many plane passengers aren't really hungry but perhaps bored and eating is often just something to do because the food is there. To manage food triggers, close your tray or open your laptop, work, read or watch a movie until the food service is over. 

Extra! Foods that TSA allows through security

In most countries, the transit authorities allow you to bring food through the security screening and on board. Here are some items that work well and should not get confiscated.

Homemade sandwiches wrapped in paper and/or stored in a plastic bag. Keep in mind that all food carried on will need to go through the x-ray machine, so, never use aluminium foil or they may ask to search your bag and delay your travels. 

Fresh fruits and veggies, such as apples, bananas and avocados. If you cut or peel them ahead of time, they need to be wrapped in a plastic bag or carried in a glass container.

Crunchy snacks such as crackers, dried fruit or nuts.

Pre-made salads in glass containers or plastic. Salad dressing can be packed separately as long as it’s in a 100g or smaller container.

Empty thermos or water bottles of any size which can be filled up beyond security.

Check out this app on the TSA website to search for what items may or may not be currently allowed in your carry-on.  

If you are traveling internationally, only bring enough food for your flight in your carry-on because you will likely need to throw away any leftover food when you arrive at customs in your destination country.  Before you leave, review the customs restrictions for your destination, to see what you may be able to bring into the country you are visiting.


Food is not the only health concern while travelling through airports and on planes, for an overview of some common health concerns and tips to help stay healthy and energized, read Airplane health concerns….Jet Lag or Jet Set? next week!