This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission from purchases made through them, at no additional cost to you, which helps keep this content free. I only promote products I trust and use myself.
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. Some flights do provide gluten free meals but the quality of the food is so awful, you are much better bringing your own food.
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 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.
The morning of my flight I tend to eat a big breakfast with a lot of protein to keep me full for a while. I usually do 2 eggs, maybe some meat if I have any leftover and of course my Bulletproof Coffee. This should keep you satiated for any travel delays or hiccups that may come up before you dive into your lunch.
The day before a long flight I also like to make sure I drink plenty of water to stay hydrated before the travel. I have recently been really into Vital Proteins Collagen Waters which help you stay hydrated and give you a nice serving of collagen protein to keep your hair, skin and nails healthy. That is a win win!
We use these great thermos's. They keep your food warm for 7-9 hours! I like to make a batch of my Instant Pot Shredded Beef or Instant Pot Shredded Chicken the day before and then heat it up in the morning and pop it in my thermos and you are ready to go. 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 your food will stay warm for hours! By the time you are ready for lunch, your food will be warm, tasty and healthy. I like to pack some fresh produce as a side like cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumber or sliced jicama.
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 or rice crackers. It's usually pretty filling and holds you over fairly well. You can also always add some fresh fruit or veggies to this as well, just make sure to eat the produce and meats before you land. Some Proscuitto is filled with all sorts of unnecessary ingredients. I like La Quercia or Creminelli because the ingredients are just Pork and Sea Salt.
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 or an Rbar. If you eat fruit, you can always bring along a banana or apple for breakfast.
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. Make sure to check out my blog post all about my favorite travel snacks.
The Flight Home
The flight to your destination is always easier than the flight home. If you are lucky to stay in an accommodation with a kitchen, it makes things much easier so you can heat some food up and take it back in your thermos. If not, you may want to put together more of a picnic style meal for both lunch and dinner like the dinner plan for your trip there. I like to save an “flight home food bag” that I set aside and don’t eat that includes some olives, Epic Bars and other snacks that will hold me over for the flight home.
Pouches of Tuna and Sardines can be really helpful for the flight home to fill yourself up with some clean protein and maybe some fruit you can find at the airport.
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.
This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission from purchases made through them, at no additional cost to you, which helps keep this content free. I only promote products I trust and use myself. Please see Disclosure Policy for more details.