Food Friday: Healthy Travel Food

One of the most difficult parts of the actual traveling process — for me at least — is food. If I have not conscientiously plotted out exactly what I’m going to eat and when, I tend to devolve to food court pizza and whatever bland trans-fat laden treats are passed out by the airline.  This time, however, I want to be a little more proactive.  I figure I’m going to eat enough on my vacation, I don’t need to start it off with calorie-laden but mediocre garbage. My calories are going to be worth it, damnit.

Fortunately, my flight leaves midday with one stop domestically, and then travels through the night to arrive in Paris mid-morning local time. This means that I can eat lunch before my first flight, dinner just prior to my international flight, and then sleep through the mid-flight meals.

Digression: based on my two previous trips, airline food on international flights while not gourmet, isn’t bad but is copious: initial snack, then mid-flight meal, another snack, then breakfast meal just before arrival.  There’s also usually free wine.  So I am going to be heavily tempted to stay up and eat unless I’ve already fallen asleep before the temptations are waved in front of my face.

So, the plan is to pack two meals in my carryon, both in disposable containers.  I want to make sure they are:

  • Within TSA standards
  • Within my calorie range
  • Filling
  • Healthy (including lots of vegetables, healthy fat and some protein)
  • Tasty

I will eat one just before my initial flight, tossing the container before boarding the plane, and then eat the other during my domestic layover (again, tossing the container before boarding the plane).  That will ensure that I’m nice and full as I get on the international flight, allowing me to pop a melatonin and a glass of wine (bien sur I will have a glass of wine on my way to Paris!) and pass out quickly, hopefully getting enough sleep to be able to function the next day.

After scouring a couple different websites, I think my best option is going to be a cold whole-wheat al dente pasta salad with sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, steamed broccoli or chard, fresh basil, a bit of cheese and a good 4-6 oz of chicken in each.  That will fill me up without spiking my blood sugar and will cause sleepiness due to the tryptophan in the cheese and chicken.

I’ll pack those up the night before and stick them in my bag just as I leave the house (despite the dire warnings so often given about food safety, I’ve never had a problem with food that’s been unrefrigerated for <24 hours).

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