Cooking With Confidence
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Eating On The Go

by Nick

As you can probably guess, I’m not huge fast food fan. This is usually fine since I keep a pretty good supply of delicious food in my kitchen. It does become a problem though if I’m away from my kitchen.

Case in point, tomorrow I’m going to DC for a few days for work. I always have a dilemma with what to bring to snack on when traveling so I thought I’d brainstorm some good snack ideas for when you’re on the road. I decided to share them in case I’m not the only one who feels like the choice between a fast food burger and bag a chips isn’t really a great set of options.

Check out my ideas and, of course, leave a comment with any of your favorite travel snack ideas!

A Friendly Reminder

You probably know this, but it’s a bit touch and go these days regarding what you can and can’t bring through security. When you’re taking a plane trip, it’s a good idea to know exactly what you can and can’t bring otherwise you may just be forced to throw away (or “donate”) whatever snacks you’ve spent the time to prepare!

This applies to any security checkpoint in the US, but is probably a decent guideline for anywhere. According to the TSA section on Food & Beverages:

  • You can’t bring any liquids, aerosols, or gels. Don’t even try to sneak through with a bottle of water, unless it’s empty.
  • You can bring food as long as it’s wrapped or in a container. So you could bring a candy bar, but if it has been opened, you then need to put it in a separate container.
  • All the food you bring has to go through the X-ray machine so if you don’t want to do that then you’re out of luck.
  • You can bring fruit that’s unpeeled, but if it’s peeled or half-eaten, it needs to be in a container. So you can bring an apple, but if you take a bite of your apple, then it needs to be in a container.

So basically just put everything in a bag or container and you’ll probably be okay.

Fruity Business

Fruit is one of the best snacks to bring for traveling. After all, they already come in their own wrapper! Packing an apple or banana can get me through a 4 or 5 hour flight without a problem.

Here are a few other great Fruit ideas that are easy to pack and eat.

Pack it with Peanut Butter – Add a few tablespoons of peanut butter (or any nut butter) to the bottom of a container. Then chop up a few apples (or celery) and stack them right on top of the dip.

Dry it out - Taking dried fruit instead of fresh is a good way to save space. Dried apples and banana chips are some of my favorite.

Veg Out

Besides vegging out by watching some bad in-flight movie, you can also get your veggies in while traveling. These days you can buy a ton of veggies that are basically travel-ready.

Baby carrots, celery, and radishes are all really easy to transport along with a few ounces of dip if you want.

10 Easy to Pack Recipes

If fruits and veggies just aren’t enough for you, here are 10 recipes that you could make in advance and pack up for your trip!

Peanut Butter Granola Bars - These are just delicious. They don’t really take that long to make, you can customize them to fit what ingredients you have around, and you can wrap them individually so they are ready for travel!

Caramel Corn - If you have a sweet tooth, you can mix up a big batch of delicious caramel corn. It packs perfectly. If you’re more of the savory type (like me) there’s a recipe for curried popcorn in this post also!

Sweet and Spicy Nuts - If you have a desire to make friends on the plane ride, mix up a few batches of these and hand them out to your hungry neighbors!

Macheesmo Muscle Bars - I was browsing through the Macheesmo archives looking for a recipe and these guys popped up. I forgot how awesome they were. They would also be perfect for a flight!

Pimento Cheese Muffins - Ok. Sure. Any muffin would travel well, but these are my favorite at the moment. A bit spicy and with lots of cheese flavor. These make any airport delay okay.

Rainbow Wheatberry Salad – Theoretically this salad should be refrigerated, but as long as you ate it within a few hours it would be just fine. It’s really healthy and would give you the energy needed to catch that tight transfer in Denver a.k.a the longest airport ever.

Roasted Chickpeas – There’s actually three quick appetizers in this post that you could make. The kale chips would definitely not transport well. But the chickpeas would be perfect and are very easy to make and delicious.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pinwheels - Another one that should probably be refrigerated but would be fine for a few hours. A tasty and simple snack for sure.

Creamy Hummus – This is the best at-home hummus recipe I’ve found. You can customize it obviously to adjust for flavors that you like. A few ounces of this in a container with some veggies or crackers would be perfect for traveling!

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – Everybody needs a treat when traveling. These are some of the best cookies I’ve made and, I’ve heard, that if you slip one to the airline workers, they might upgrade you for free. Or they’ll at least make sure your luggage gets there!

Ask the Readers

If you guys have a favorite snack or treat that would be perfect for traveling, leave a comment! Feel free to give a link to a recipe if there’s one posted somewhere!

Airplane Photo by caribb.

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16 comments on “Eating On The Go

  1. I'm impressed (and a little jealous) that a piece of fruit can get you through a 4-5 hour flight! I would probably resort to eating the other passengers if that was all I brought with me.

    When traveling, I almost always bring a peanut butter sandwich and a banana. It's filling and safe at room temperature. I get paranoid about foods that should be refrigerated being out for hours. Granola bars and nuts are staples of mine too.

    I never thought of bringing bags of caramel corn or popcorn though… sounds like a good idea to test on my trip next month. :-)

  2. OK not really about the post (which is awesome as usual – thank you!), but when you're in DC, be sure to seek out these good eats (note: all of these have multiple locations): Chop't salad (very good and great ingredients), http://www.choptsalad.com; Devon & Blakely (which has like 20 soups a day, no joke), devonblakelydc.com; and Matchbox (try the Fire & Smoke pizza), http://www.matchboxchinatown.com.

    Hope you have a great trip!

  3. I'm a big fan of dry-roasted, salted pecans or almonds. Salty to stave off the temptation to pick up a bag of chips, filling thanks to the protein, don't require refrigeration, and inexpensive if bought in bulk.

  4. Just a quick "hummus note" (..never thought I'd say that) but I just found out if you peel the chickpeas, you get a much creamier hummus- and I tried it myself and it definitely worked! Good tips for the hungry traveler :)
    My recent post Herb Roasted Chicken

    1. Yea.. I've heard that. The recipe I've linked to actually uses chickpea flour which is a bit easier and equally creamy. ;)

  5. Can you really get snacks like peanut butter, dip and hummus through security? I have "donated" way too many packs of yogurt and have given up on anything gel or cream-like. But I am also traveling for work next week and this post is very helpful!

  6. Pimento cheese muffins? Im swooning! :) :) :)

    I love taking chedder popcorn with me or even my DIY "lunchable" of cut up cheese, salami, crackers and grapes. And Ive been known around the holidays to bring the leftover thanksgiving sandwich as well. Soo much better than the $15 wrap you can buy :)

    You never know if you will get stuck on the plane for a while…happend to me in Philly once. I could have sold my granola bars for $20 each if I wasnt so hungry :)

  7. I hate to be a joy kill, but if you could please not bring peanut or peanut butter snacks to eat on the plane, that would be greatly appreciated by those of us who are very allergic to peanuts. Being stuck in circulated air with the smell makes me incredibly ill and I fly in fear that I'll have a bad enough reaction that I'll need to use my Epipen and the flight will be rerouted. It's fine to eat at the airport, but in the plane we're all sharing the same air and some people are, unfortunately, deathly allergic to peanuts. Thank you!! Safe travels everyone!!

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