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16 Lunches and Dinners to Pack for the Airport

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Here is a quote from a post I famously contributed to on the subject of packing food for the airport:

Normally, my airport food isn't some beautiful little snack I've diligently packed away—it is bodega yogurts and bags of pretzels and peanut butter cups. Why, Heidi, would you ask me to gently sauté a ginger onion paste while I’m supposed to be packing? I hardly have the time to fold my laundry, let alone swaddle herbs in barely warmed oil. 

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A Peek Inside Heidi Swanson's Spice Drawer
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A Peek Inside Heidi Swanson's Spice Drawer

The Heidi in question here is Heidi Swanson, whose delicate little spring rolls I was making as a test to see if it was, indeed, worth it to add “make food” to your already long list of flight prep. (See: “remember toothbrush,” “where is your license,” and “CHARGERS?!?!?”)

Spoiler alert: It was. I may have felt twee wrapping and packing these up, but I felt like a winner once I got to my terminal. A winner who has her life together, and who got at least half her servings of vegetables that day.

You can do it too, and you should. Here are 16 lunches that will pack and serve you well for long flights:

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Great grain salads:

Farro Salad with Onion Confit, Persimmon, and Arugula

Farro Salad with Onion Confit, Persimmon, and Arugula by Josh Cohen

Radish and Pecan Grain Salad

Radish and Pecan Grain Salad by Amanda Hesser

Heidi Swanson's Mostly Olive Salad, With Some Farro

Heidi Swanson's Mostly Olive Salad, With Some Farro by Sarah Jampel

Farro, Golden Beet, and Feta Salad with​ ​Pecans and Chive-Sage Dressing

Farro, Golden Beet, and Feta Salad with​ ​Pecans and Chiv... by em-i-lis

Lentil salads:

French Lentil, Kamut, and Avocado Salad with Basil Dressing

French Lentil, Kamut, and Avocado Salad with Basil Dressing by Petit World Citizen

Peter Miller's Lentils Folded into Yogurt, Spinach, and Basil

Peter Miller's Lentils Folded into Yogurt, Spinach, and B... by Genius Recipes

French Lentil and Arugula Salad with Herbed Cashew Cheese

French Lentil and Arugula Salad with Herbed Cashew Cheese by Gena Hamshaw

Lentil and Basmati Salad with Tamarind, Coconut, and Cilantro

Lentil and Basmati Salad with Tamarind, Coconut, and Cila... by gingerroot

Salads that won't wilt:

New Potato and Pea Salad with Mustard and Mint

New Potato and Pea Salad with Mustard and Mint by aargersi

Roasted Potato Salad with Mustard-Walnut Vinaigrette

Roasted Potato Salad with Mustard-Walnut Vinaigrette by Shannon

Carrot, Lentil, and Feta Salad

Carrot, Lentil, and Feta Salad by Christopher Kibler

Shaved Vegetable Salad with Apples and Lemony Tahini Dressing

Shaved Vegetable Salad with Apples and Lemony Tahini Dres... by Elizabeth Stark

Noodle salads that are better cold, anyway:

Cold Vegetable and Noodle Salad with Ponzu Dressing

Cold Vegetable and Noodle Salad with Ponzu Dressing by Sarah Jampel

Sesame Noodle Salad with Seared Mushroom "Scallops"

Sesame Noodle Salad with Seared Mushroom "Scallops" by Jenny Goycochea

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad by MollyandBrandon

Summer Cold Noodle Salad

Summer Cold Noodle Salad by Kendra Vaculin

Do you have a airport meal tradition? (Alternatively: What's the weirdest thing you ever ate on an airplane?) Tell us in the comments.

Tags: on-the-go meals