Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tip of the Day: 9/2/08 - How to pack an airplane food survival kit

Traveling presents a problem for the picky-palated health-conscious individual (ie. me). Airports are stocked to the brim with fast food joints and nutritionally defunct chain restaurants like Chili's and California Pizza Kitchen, and like most Americans, I am loathe to spend $8 on an airline mystery meat sandwich (or worse). I've heard the horror stories about the inproper storage of food served at 35,000 feet and have a hard enough time accepting the ice that comes with my complimentary in-flight beverage, let alone the funky smelling cheeseburger the good-natured flight attendants peddle to starving flyers.

Despite my best intentions to keep my mouth clamped shut in the face of unworthy fare, my stomach demands a good-sized meal every four hours, and the prospect of a five-hour cross-country flight without food is about as appealing as a baseball bat to my forehead. Faced with either suspect in-flight dining, or a McDonald's "un-" Happy Meal, I solve the rumbling mile-high belly problem by packing my own food and snacks. I call it my "airplane food survival kit" and never leave LAX without it.

Kit Contents:

Purell Hand Sanitizer - Those dinky airplane bathroom sinks are a bacterial infection waiting to happen. I wash as well as I can, but then follow it up with a good dose of anti-bacterial hand sanitizer.
Napkins - Turbulence + brimming cup of Ginger ale = Wet jeans crotch. I don't trust the absorbancy of the cocktail napkin served with my beverage of choice -- I bring my own larger napkins and arrive at my destination without the questionably-placed stains.

Peanut butter & jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread - No need to refrigerate and packed with heart-healthy, filling fat? Ding ding ding, we have a winner! (As long as your seatmate doesn't have a peanut allergy.) I pack mine in some tupperware so it doesn't get squished in my fierce Tano carry-on bag.
Fruit - I prefer an apple, but grapes work well also. I try to pick something that is easy to eat and doesn't require half a roll of paper towels to catch the stray juices (ie. oranges).
Baby carrots - Because even on travel days, it's a good idea to get in at least 5 servings of fruit/veggies.

Snacks - Even if I have my meal in tow, I still bring plenty of snacks in anticipation of delays and more delays.

Energy Bars
  • Luna Bars for a heartier snack with 180 calories (Try Iced Oatmeal Raisin or Caramel Brownie)
  • Cliff Kids for a lighter snack with 120 calories (Try Chocolate Brownie)

Trail mix/Nuts - Almonds, cashews, dried cranberries, raisins

Chocolate - Handful of chocolate covered nuts or wrapped Dove squares. Just say "no" to over-priced in-flight snack boxes and cookies.

Topped off with a couple bottles of water and magazines from the newstand near my gate, and I'm set for the jet!

No comments: