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You are bound to hear the phrase "chicken or pasta" on a long international flight. Unfortunately eating the food provided on an airplane is not an option for anyone on a restricted diet. I am plagued with having Celiac Disease and used to have over 60 food allergies. Eating even at home can be a challenge, much less a long international flight.
Fortunately, my OCD Virgo side shines in situations like this and I have figured out ways to make it possible to travel and not starve.
I wrote this blog post on my trip to Germany for Stem Cells in which we traveled for 22 hours. That meant I had to figure out Lunch, Dinner and Breakfast to keep us full for the trip.
I have a goto menu that I usually use on long international flights. This can obviously be modified to fit your dietary needs, but should give you a good baseline with some ideas of what to eat and how to prepare.
I usually like to book my travel so I take off in the mornings. This makes things easier food wise. When returning home I also like to book flights after lunch or dinner so that makes it easier to eat before you board a flight home, especially for shorter flights. For me Breakfast and Lunch are non-negotiable. I have to eat those meals or I feel off. I tend to eat bigger lunches so I really need that mid-day meal. Dinner I can eat something lighter or can go longer without eating.
So here is my goto inflight menu.
We use these great thermos's. They keep your food warm for 7-9 hours! We are a bit spoiled since we live near the Bulletproof Cafe so we typically get one of their Steak Bowls and that ends up being a very filling and healthy lunch. Before we had the perk of Bulletproof Cafe we would do some sort of roast meat with veggies. Just make sure there is not much liquid in with it or you risk TSA wanting to take it away. Also make sure to heat your food right before you put it in and you are good to go! Your lunch should be warm, tasty and healthy a few hours into your travel.
I tend to eat lighter dinners so this in-flight meal I tend to do more of a “picnic”.
I like to eat Proscuitto, Mario’s Olives, grass fed cheese if you do dairy, some sort of carb like plantain chips or potato chips fried in avocado or coconut oil. It's usually pretty filling and holds you over fairly well. You can also always add some fresh fruit or veggies, just make sure to eat the produce and meats before you land.
Breakfast is always the hardest, especially since you have been traveling for so long. I typically drink Bulletproof Coffee every morning, but that is a bit impossible to make on a cramped airplane seat. I still need a little kick of caffeine so I bring some organic green tea bags.
For food, I bring some hard boiled eggs or you can go simple and do a Bulletproof Collagen Bar.
In addition to all the meals, I also make sure to bring plenty of snacks. Snacks are great while you are traveling, sightseeing and also for any delays you may experience or something to hold you over while you find safe food. I will be putting together a post soon about how I safely eat out at restaurants when I am home and traveling.
The flight to your destination is always easier than the flight home. For the flight home we plan to make something warm in our thermos, hard boiled eggs for breakfast/landing and then rely on Snack bars and sardines for holding us over for lunch until we are home. Fortunately, we are staying in accommodations that have kitchens so that will help make the flight home easier, but if you are staying somewhere without a kitchen, this final leg of your journey can be challenging.
You will have to check what the regulations are in the country you are going to. Most countries don’t allow meats, even if they are cured and fresh produce to enter. This is not a problem as long as you finish your food on the plane before you land. If you have fresh food you are planning to eat I advise you to eat it before you land, even if you are not starving. Otherwise, you risk having it taken away from you, leaving you hungry, even your food in your thermos. On a trip to Mexico last year, we had to throw away our food in our thermos because it was not done. We were planning to eat it once we arrived. Lesson learned.
So now the list of some of my goto snacks:
These are all Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Nightshade Free snacks so they work even if you are AIP (except for the nuts on AIP). Amazon or Thrive Market are my goto places to purchase these snacks. Use this link for Thrive and you get 25% off your first order!
Epic makes their own version of Paleo Trail Mix. These are also a good alternative to just the bars and bites.
Epic Liver Bites
This is a great item from Epic if you want to get some organ meats in on the road.
These Bulletproof Bars are incredible. They are small but powerful. One of these bars can satisfy hunger for hours. If you put them in the fridge or freezer they tend to hold up even better. The stevia flavor can be a little overpowering at first, but the energy you get from them is worth it. I definitely ALWAYS have one in my purse for when I feel like I am crashing and need a snack.
Dang Coconut Chips
These are a great high-fat snacks that can fill you up and energize you pretty quickly.
Plantain Chips are a good source of carbs when traveling. Both are a tasty snack.
Potato & Sweet Potato Chips
Potato chips are not the healthiest of snacks, but sometimes you just want them. If you are going to eat them, make sure to pick a clean brand that only has potatoes, oil and salt. I like Jacksons Coconut Oil Potato or Sweet Potato Chips.
Jica Chips are another good snack that can supply your healthy carbs.
These cashews are great. They are all cooked in Coconut Oil and have very simple clean ingredients. I love the salted ones.
Sea Snax are not very filling but they do taste good. They are good if you want a salty flavor profile but don’t expect to get satisfied off of them.
Some Proscuitto is filled with all sorts of unnecessary ingredients. I like La Quercia because the ingredients are Pork and Sea Salt.
Sardines used to gross me out. I hated the bones. I was so excited to find these that are skinless and boneless and are in olive oil. These are a good go to for travel since they are canned and keep well. They can come in handy for long flights home as they travel well and make it through customs.
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