tips to make your air travel a culinary experience
No matter how you travel - first class, business class or coach - there are very few airlines that have managed to provide meals or snacks that are edible. We all know that most airlines are struggling financially. There are fewer and fewer perks, more surly customers and airline employees, and less and less enjoyment when traveling. It's simply a means to an end.
The solution? Buy a private jet and hire a chef? Sounds good, but that's not likely for most of us. Don't fly? that's just not an option for those of us who live to travel and travel for business. So what's the alternative? You can take matters into your own hands. We've done it ourselves and we're here to give you a few ideas for how to eat like a rock star on your next trip.
Eat light and eat healthfully. PoshPorts Ambassador Chef Jill Houk would definitely give a big thumbs up for this one. Flying, especially long flights, takes a real toll on your body. It disrupts your sleep, makes you feel bloated, gassy, all things that make for an unhappy traveler. Eating healthfully and light makes traveling a bit more comfortable. Some people don't eat at all and simply fast. This may work for you but the Posh gals need a little sustenance to get through the day. You can do this simply by bringing your own food or snacks. We're going to provide you with a few suggestions about what to include in your carry-on bag in our next few tips. A lot of frequent travelers also avoid alcohol when flying. This one is certainly up to you. A glass of wine may be the perfect way to unwind and relax but more than that will not help you sleep and will also add to the dehydration faction that already at play when you're flying.
Order the Vegetarian, Bland/Low Sodium or Kosher meal. We've tried this several times with mixed results. There are usually a few items you can salvage from one of these meals even if it's just prepackaged (but safe) cheese and crackers and the dessert. There are many variables at play, so you may end up with something your seatmates marvel at or you may end up with a dud. However, you won't usually end up with rubber chicken or mystery meat that has been processed until it's unrecognizable - hopefully. If the massive salt used in many of the meal items is a particular problem, see if they offer a bland or low sodium option.
Bring your own food. Our loyal PoshPorts fans already know that Chief Ambassador Sue Reddel does not enter the gate area without snacks and water. It's her number one rule when traveling. You can take this rule a little further by bringing your own meal. Whether you make it yourself or pick something up in the airport, you are controlling your own destiny and what you'll be consuming. Although we beg you not to bring a Big Mac and fries on board just so we don't have to smell it, we do know that options in the airports have improved and there are some decent, if not the most cost-effective, choices now available in many places. Healthful salads, sandwiches, protein bars, yogurts, fruits and snacks are easier to find. If you want even more control, bring your food from home. Many healthful salads, sandwiches and snacks are easy to prepare. Unlike liquids, they get through security without a problem and they hold up well for the several hours you'll be waiting to eat. Just be sure not to include ingredients that will not travel well without refrigeration such as mayonnaise or dairy. Be sure bring along your sides too like cut up veggies, fruits and nuts.
Here are a few suggestions from our own kitchen to plane adventures:
Frozen items. Bring items that are frozen and can gently defrost as you make your way to the airport, through security, check-in and reaching that cruising elevation. Shrimp is perfect. Keep a little cocktail sauce separate, and you've got a perfect shrimp cocktail - add a few crackers and a nice piece of cheese and you are set.
Grilled veggies with a bow tie pasta. Left over veggies with a little pasta is quite a yummy treat and because room temperature is just fine, no refrigeration is needed.
Homemade sandwiches. Take that left over chicken breast or some sliced turkey, put it on whole wheat bread or a yummy roll with a little dab of gourmet mustard. Bring your lettuce, tomato or other veggie toppings in a separate container or plastic bag so you don't end up with a soggy sammy by the time you're ready to eat. Nobody likes that.
Cheese and crackers. Pick your favorites. It feels better knowing that there's something we like in the bag when a tragic meal cart comes ambling up the aisle.
Something crunchy. While you're watching a movie, TV show or reading you may get a little peckish. Carry sesame sticks, veggie chips, pretzels or the like. Just a few satisfy the urge for something crunchy and a little salty. Avoid the giant can of Pringles that they will try to sell you. The sodium in those will dehydrate you even further. If you really want to be good, some cut veggies like carrots and celery will provide a good crunch without the salt.
Something sweet. Don't forget dessert! Homemade or bakery cookies or muffins, which are all available in low-fat or reduced-fat alternatives too, make a great snack. Fruit is also a great sweet tooth tamer and contains water which helps with dehydration. Dried fruit like apricots, cranberries, raisins, apples or bananas are very tasty. Get whatever you like and mix them up in a baggie for a great healthful snack on the plane or in between meetings. Save the calories for that fabulous restaurant you want to try when visiting a new destination.
Bring your own water. You just never know when the flight will be delayed on the tarmac or circling in the air. Air travel really dehydrates you so you'll want to be sure that you drink plenty of water along the way. We've also been on planes that have run out of bottled water. Having your own helps eliminate this problem. For a long flight bring a bigger bottle. This is the one item you'll need to purchase at the airport because security now does not allow you to bring along your own. However, in some countries, you may bring an empty bottle and fill it up after you have gone through all the security procedures. Check the airport you are going to if this is something that interests you.
Some planning and preparation will make your next trip on a plane just a bit better, more delicious and less tedious. All your seat-mates will be envious, so if you want to make friends, bring a little extra and offer to share a snack. Whatever your plans, it makes sense to control the parts of your transportation that you can. Bringing along good food and snacks offers a sort of freedom. With a little preparation before you go, you can enjoy your food options much more on your next flight. Bon voyage and bon appetit!