Guest Post: Eating on the Road

Guest Blogger, Brad (a.k.a Brajit) from Pop Slingers Paradise.

If you fly for an airline most places here in the United States, Crew Meals are a thing of the past.  So are having ovens, serving meals to your passengers, or having open seats in your premium cabin that would allow everybody to pick on the leftovers on that long flight.

Bringing food on the road is a difficult task, especially if you are doing multiple day trips or commute, or both!  However, over the last 9 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to find some great ideas to help keep your hunger away while working:

1. Nuts of all Types – They are full of fiber and protein to keep you feeling full and help to give you extra energy throughout those long duty days.  Eating the nuts provided on board (if you are fortunate enough to have them) is great, but if you can get to a market that sells unsalted nuts, this will be your best bet.  We all know staying hydrated in the air is a challenge and adding any excess salt to the diet just makes it that much harder.

2. Food Saver Plus Vacuum Sealer by Tilia – My family has owned one of these since they came out and they have only gotten better and easier to use every year.  The initial investment is worth it, because you can size your own bags based off the amount of food, and make bags that can fit easily into your lunch tote.  These bags are resistant enough to hold up to boiling water and are also microwave safe.  The company has also even added steamer bags for those that like to have steamed fish or veggies in your room.

3. Mainstays Foil Pans – I just recently found these at my local Wal-Mart and it is their in-house brand.  These foil tins come in two varieties that I have found so far: single compartment and dual compartment.  If you are fortunate to have access to a toaster oven or galley oven, these are GREAT!  Just remove the plastic lid, pop in your cooked (or uncooked) food until completed, and you have a hot meal on board.  They are also small enough to really pack a variety of food in your lunch tote (or bring enough to share!)  QUICK TIP: Use your Food Saver Vacuum Sealer to seal each of these individually with the lids on, to keep from making a big mess in your bag.  In a pinch, you can also boil the entire package if your oven in INOP (Inoperable).

4. Tuna and Chicken in a foil pouch – These can be found any grocery store these days and although you do pay a premium for having them neatly packed for you, they weigh less and you can fit them in every nook and cranny of your bags.  I have yet to find an airport that doesn’t have some sort of mayonnaise packets to swipe, so this is a quick and easy nosh.  (And if you can stomach eating it without mayonnaise, you can cut the fat!)  Also, if you have an airport with a salad bar, you can save on the heavy meat and just get some lettuce and mushrooms and bell peppers to make it even cheaper!

5. Individual Serving Vegetable Cups – These are something new I have also seen and so far have only been found in Green Beans and Corn.  They are non-perishable and need no refrigeration, and are great for a quick side item to anything you might have.  I personally crave vegetables only, and sometimes it can be difficult to find steamed veggies in an airport.  Having a cup of these, even at room temperature, can really quench a craving.  (But don’t forget to pour out the juice they are soaking in and rinse with some bottled water.  This will help reduce the amount of sodium you are eating.)

6. Dried Fruit – Bags of this stuff are easily found everywhere but my personal favorite is from Costco and is the Mango and Berry Blend.  (Wal-Mart also has a Tropical Trail Mix that I enjoy.)  Again, this is non-perishable, will last as long as you want it to, and can make an awesome salad topper in a pinch.  The dried fruit does contain some fiber and will help keep your appetite at bay on those long nights flying, and will help keep you awake on those redeye turns.

7. A Protein or Energy Bar – This is self explanatory.  You never know when you are going to be able to run off a plane to grab some meat, so having this will help make it through your day.  And, with those early show times when NOTHING is open or they are serving eggs (and who wants to eat cold eggs in the morning), this can really be helpful to make it through the day.

8. A Candy Bar – Who doesn’t like a sweet treat to end their day.  Yes, it is loaded with sugar (but there are so many sugar-free options out there these day) and sometimes you just have to take one for the team and go for it!

These are only some of the things you can do to help the hunger pains while on the road.  If you are a flight attendant, airport food can be dull and boring, day after day, week after week.  With a little foresight, you can help both your hunger and your wallet.

You can read more from Brad by visiting his blog, Pop Slingers Paradise.

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2 Responses

  1. Great suggestions, and I picked up a couple new ideas. Here are some other things that I frequently pack:

    Soup – Cans are heavy, but sometimes I really want something hot. Cook on board if you have ovens, or in the coffee pot or with an iron in your hotel room.

    Beef (or turkey) jerky – A hit of protein can be satisfying, although you have to watch the sodium. It often comes in resealable bags and is easy to pack.

    Cheese – This isn’t an option if you’re flying international, but cheese is easy to pack and can be kept chilled on ice. Eat it plain, in salads, with bread or crackers, or add to any number of choices. Doesn’t take up much room.

    Fritos – This is my salt fix of choice, and it’s great to add to tuna, salads, soups, or anything that can be made more palatable with a bit of crunch.

    Hot sauce – Airport or airline food can be terribly bland, so I always bring along a small bottle of hot sauce. It can help make things a little more flavorful and palatable.

    • Mary Jo:

      Thanks for the suggestions….I probably could have gone on and on with different foods, but I felt like I was being verbose. I don’t necessarily travel with soup (I carry around too many textbooks that feel like soup cans) but the jerky (I make my own) and cheese along with some Frank’s Red Hot are great.

      -Brajit-

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