I can relate to the recent article on Forbes about bringing your own airplane food. The author lists seven reasons not to eat the food offered (either the free food or the food you have to pay for) that range from finding needles in your sandwich to the fact that you never know what bacteria may be in food that’s been cooked, chilled, reheated, left sitting around, and perhaps reheated again.


I don’t eat airplane food. I think the last time I ate airplane food that wasn’t a small bag of pretzels was on a flight to New Orleans in 2005. The first-class breakfast looked like it a Lunchable that had been removed from its packaging and tasted even worse.


Now I fill my backpack with healthy snacks for any traveling companions and myself, and I happily eat the foods I like while watching other passengers stare at my snacks.


Here’s my top 10 list of foods to take on an airplane that require no refrigeration.


  1. Kind bars
  2. Cliff bars
  3. nuts
  4. homemade trail mix
  5. cheese sticks
  6. apples
  7. grapes
  8. peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  9. homemade cookies
  10. veggies and hummus packed in a 3-ounce container (any dip-like food more than 3 ounces could get confiscated)

I know there are people who pack gourmet picnic foods for a flight, and I’d love it if someone packed that for me. But honestly, I’m usually so busy trying to get ready that creating a gourmet meal for my flight is unrealistic. I’m good with some healthy, favorite snack foods that will tide me over.


A couple of things to think of when packing snacks:


  • If you’re sitting next to a child who isn’t with you on a flight, please ask their parent or guardian about nut allergies before breaking open anything with nuts or nutbutter in it. Some kids are allergic to even the “fumes” of nuts.
  • Don’t bring anything too smelly. Have you ever been on a flight where some unwraps a tuna sandwich? Not pleasant.
  • Liquids and gels are not allowed through security (although anything you buy after security in the airport can go on the plane). So if you try to pack soup or even yogurt sometimes, they could get confiscated.

What's your favorite food to take on an airplane?

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