No one knows how expensive it is to eat while traveling better than a flight attendant. When I first got this job, I was spending, on average, $30 a day just to sustain myself while flying. Not only is airport food painfully pricey, it’s usually absolute garbage for you.
After a few months of trial and error, I got pretty good at padding my luggage full of decent snacks that met my high criteria; my snacks have to be as minimally processed as possible, require little to no refrigeration, contain very little added sugar, and couldn’t take up any space or weigh hardly anything. Definitely not an easy set of standards. Yeah, trail mix is great, but I can’t be dragging around 10 lbs of almonds in my already heavy luggage. Here’s how I go between meals while flying over 10 hours a day.
I desperately wanted to refrain from what I call the “baby food fad” — but these Noka pouches have saved my life on the airplane too many times to count. The mango coconut flavor with Camu Camu fruit is tops.
Almond butter is packed with healthy fat and also sticks to your ribs, and you can opt for some of Justin’s flavored options if you don’t mind the added sugar. These never leave my Amazon shopping cart because they are that important to my sanity while flying!
Every airplane and most hotel rooms have coffee cups and hot water, which is all you need for this super healthy, organic, gluten-free, zero-sugar-added breakfast or snack that will actually keep you full for hours. The coconut flavor is perfect because it doesn’t require any sweetener!
Hard Boiled Eggs
I prep for every 5 am flight by boiling a couple eggs the night before so I can have a protein-packed breakfast on my way to the airport. I leave the shells on and throw them into a plastic baggie with dry seasoning so that I can remove the shells and dip the eggs into the seasoning when I’m ready to eat them. Lately, my seasoning of choice has been Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend… which is honestly life-changing for those of us who love bagels but also need to fit in our uniforms.
Tuna is the easiest protein and omega-3-dense food to travel with since it doesn’t require refrigeration. Thankfully, there are plenty of StarKist Creations flavors to keep me from getting bored of this perfect on-the-run meal. The Buffalo and Lemon Pepper flavors are definitely my favorites.
Thankfully these babies are packaged in 100 calorie increments or else I would be dumping the entire bag into my mouth in the galley after every beverage service. This is one snack that I get so excited to eat every time I know it’s waiting for me, which helps keep me from spending money on overpriced airport trail mixes.
They’re called That’s It because the two ingredients you see on the front label are all of the ingredients they contain — that’s it! The fruit duo bars are delicious, non-GMO, and have no added sugar, which makes for a perfect sweet pick-me-up when those mid-flight sugar cravings kick in.
There really is no such thing as being too hydrated while flying, but constantly drinking water does get old. This tea is one of my favorites, but any tea will work as long as it’s caffeine free and you look forward to drinking it. Just ask your flight attendant for some hot water or throw a couple bags into a water bottle and let them steep for an hour.
Babybel cheeses will stay good for up to four hours without refrigeration thanks to their heavy wax rinds and are an excellent mid-morning snack or before dinner snack. Cheese is packed with protein and helps stave off hunger in between flights so you’re not tempted to overspend or overindulge at the airport.
Beef jerky to me has always been synonymous with Slim Jims and long road trips to exciting places to me. Needless to say, jerky found its way into my flying snack repertoire pretty easily. I upgraded my selection a bit by opting for grass-fed beef, lean turkey jerky, or my new love — smoked salmon jerky from Trader Joe’s.
If I’m really crashing after the second or third flight of the day and the siren song from Chik-Fil-A in the terminal is getting louder, these are my secret weapon. The vanilla chai flavor is delicious and strong enough to mix with plain bottled water rather than almond milk or juice (which I might not have easy access to).
As the name suggests, this is just a handful of lightly marinated Spanish Manzanilla olives that are impossibly satisfying when you’re craving something salty. Olives are loaded with good fat and antioxidants, when I pair them with one of my Babybel cheeses I can pretend I’m having afternoon tapas in Madrid….not sitting in a jumpseat on a 737.