Flying overseas but on a budget. What are some sturdy foods to take on board?

I'm thinking hummus and crackers, but also want some ideas for wraps, perhaps, and a dual-purpose dessert/breakfast bar. We like fresh fruit and vegetables but customs can get huffy about them.



Windischgirl May 30, 2015
Thanks for all your suggestions! I think we're going vegetarian, for fewer worries about food spoilage (and hubby doesn't care for cured meats). Hummus wrap on whole wheat pita with grilled red pepper, zucchini, and feta. Simple quesadillas--cheddar melted onto whole wheat tortillas with a drizzle of Franks' sauce. Cut up fresh vegetables in a bag. Trader Joe's turkey jerky. One of the oaty-fruity granola bar recipes here on Food 52. Some berries for the ride to JFK (you New Yorkers can feel my pain) and dried apricots for the plane. I am also packing a few bags of dried (not candied) pineapple, and candied (not crystallized) ginger, both good for soothing the tummy. Tea bags since airline coffee can be dreadful, but it takes real effort to goof up hot water.
Sounds like a lot of food but we have a 3 hr trip to the airport, a lot of sitting around, arrive at midnight and are staying the first night in a hostel that doesn't serve breakfast. Like Bill, we try to eat well from the grocery store and the farm market.
Claire S. May 26, 2015
I think you've probably already got more than enough suggestions but I just wanted to add to the people mentioning it's a good idea to eat all the fresh fruit and veg before landing. Definitely do that and also be sure to eat all dairy produce and meat. It probably depends where you're going so you could check the customs requirements for your destination if you'd rather not feel under pressure to eat everything up before you land!
creamtea May 26, 2015
For a sandwich, a slice of baguette or toasted whole-grain bread, buttered, with sharp mustard, roasted pepper (blotted dry), and cheddar or Monterey jack; we often bring bagels with cream cheese and optional mild smoked salmon. Long flights are the one time I buy a selection of snack foods that we don't otherwise get: crackers, chips (from the organic section--that's my excuse), popcorn, cashews, almonds, bars, cookies. Tea bags if you're particular about your tea!! I'm traveling this weekend and am going to use some of the ideas the other contributors to this thread have made.
ChefJune May 26, 2015
I always bring my own food on board. Have never had any problems with fruit at Newark Airport. Often take a peeled, sectioned apple in a baggie. Usually some roasted unsalted nuts, a sandwich, a chocolate bar, cookies, And I also bring fruit and a hard boiled egg for breakfast the next morning, and sometimes a breakfast bread. The breakfasts in Economy on overseas flights are abysmal.
Liza's K. May 26, 2015
I like to bring crackers, nuts, homemade granola bars (, raspberry oat bars (, and hummus/veggie wraps (as they are okay out of the fridge for a long period of time).
Maedl May 25, 2015
Airplane breakfasts are too disgusting to consider eating, so I always take two hard boiled eggs. I have two tiny containers, one filled with salt and pepper and the other, butter. I also pack dried fruit and nuts and an orange or two clementines, which I eat before I get anywhere close to customs. I pack a zip lock bag and paper towel as well, to male clean up easy. This ends up being a far better meal than anything handed out on the plane--and the last few times, the stewardess has given me a smile and thumbs up when she sees what I am eating.
scruz May 24, 2015
i would think some really nice olives, celery sticks with peanut butter, sliced cheddar, roasted nuts, crackers. i love, and it is kind of soft comfort food, muenster or jack cheese with avocado sandwiches. really all of these are finger foods and can be thrown in zip lock bags and have staying power but are light. and not smelly. nor drippy. add a couple of sliced and cored apples, grapes, mandarin orange sections and you will have a really healthy little picnic on a plane. have a great trip!
Sam1148 May 24, 2015
Use rice paper wrappers to wrap up things like grain salads and veggies. They hold together pretty well don't go soggy like bread wraps. I wouldn't worry about bringing things through customs--it just not worth the hassle.
jamcook May 24, 2015
Eat all the fresh fruits and vegetables before you arrive... Don't take anything smelly or that the other passengers might perceive of as smelly. Don't overstuff sandwiches so that nothing drips, drops or oozes. Basic choices, unspoilable and unspillable are best.
Nancy May 26, 2015
Good ideas, est to eat all the fresh produce before you arrive in foreign country. Except sometimes I've been prevented/forbidden from boarding with the fresh produce. Good on their own and a way to get some produce in you on the flight: home made quality granola with dried fruit; vegetable smoothies (not sure how the authorities will react, but it's worth a try).
Pegeen May 24, 2015
I envy you going overseas! You said you had trouble finding the link... here's the one for the thread that Kristen W mentioned, here on the hotline.

The other link that sexyLAMPCHOPx mentioned is also very good: Best Make-Ahead Snacks

I think grain salads that can be at room temperature for a while (quinoa, barley) travel well and are filling. Mix with some sturdy vegetables cut into small pieces. Keep your dressing separate in a small travel bottle until ready to eat, so the salad doesn't become soggy. Pita, dried fruit, nuts, applesauce, organic fruit in small containers.
Windischgirl May 24, 2015
Thanks for the link and the suggestions. I hunted around on the hotline but no luck....appreciate the specific question info.
We are flying a cheapie airline which allows 2 free checked bags...but you have to pay ridiculous $ for food. I can carry an insulated lunch bag as well as the next person :-)
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 24, 2015
when you enter the search terms make sure you check articles for other helpful answers in addition to the hotline.
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 24, 2015
Good idea to bring your own food. Here's a link from past Food52 column articles with many suggestions. Have fun!
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 24, 2015
Be mindful of the smell any of your foods emit and bring hand wipes.
Maedl May 25, 2015
The smel if the airplane foodis usually strong enough to counteract anything you might bring--except perhaps garlic-onion bagels with garlic salami!
Kristen W. May 24, 2015
Search the hotline for the following question for a related discussion: "Hello! - I've got a good one for you! - Tell me what to put in an airplane take on meal - gotta be something good that has a little staying power. "
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