Wondering What to Eat During Air Travel?
Looks like you may be flying somewhere soon? How exciting! And I mean that in a good way. Don’t even think about getting overly anxious or concerned about it – because you probably know where that can lead, IBS-tummy-wise! And here I am going to give you my well-earned tips for Eating Low FODMAP On Airplanes.
There’s really nothing to worry about when it comes to flying.
First of all, flying is very safe. Commercial pilots undergo a lot more rigorous training than other safety-oriented professionals, like police officers, firefighters etc. Also, it’s said to be even more secure than driving a car.
Besides that flying can be fun – watching new movies, chatting to your neighbours and my favourite thing in general: eating.
How To Eat Low FODMAP When Flying
Some people say it’s best to not eat anything while flying, both because of the stress flying causes our bodies and from the dehydration. Eating can then worsen IBS symptoms. Well, I bet those people never flew to Australia (MANY hours!) or they’re just not always hungry like me. Not eating just isn’t an option for me.
Therefore let’s focus on what you CAN eat when flying.
Choosing The Right Food
Airplane food can be a tricky one. But did you know that you can order yourself a special meal on most flights?
Check on your airline’s website. Usually they have a list of special meals and it’s possible to pre-book your food online. If you’re following a low FODMAP diet like me, I would recommend choose the “bland meal”. It focuses on non-gassy foods that are easier to digest, like white rice / potatoes with chicken / fish and steamed vegetables. It usually comes unseasoned too.
This is how Delta Airlines explains it on their website: “BLAND MEAL (BLML): Menu items that could potentially cause gastric irritation will not be used in the preparation of these meals. Examples of foods excluded: hot mustard, hot spices, pickles, garlic, fried and fatty foods.”
Jackpot! This is probably not the most exciting of all meals, but look at it that way: there‘s definitely going to be something on that plate you can eat.
Still, of course you never know… I’ve had flights where they forgot to bring my special meal altogether – it literally didn’t make it onto the plane. Luckily I was prepared, and with these tips, you will be too.
Always Bring Low FODMAP Snacks
That’s a classic. If you’ve read some other posts of mine, you know that I’m always the one encouraging you to bring your own food wherever you go. I personally never leave the house without snacks in my pockets. So it goes without saying that this also applies for when I’m boarding a plane.
Depending on the time and length of the flight, I sometimes even pack a proper lunch. That not only makes things much easier but often a lot tastier, too.
When getting your food ready, just keep in mind that you’ll have to pass TSA inspection before boarding the plane. For that there are some simple rules to follow.
It’s pretty straightforward actually. You’ve probably heard about the 100ml (USA 3 oz) rule. This limitation applies for liquids and gels only (eg. drinks, yoghurt, dressings, nut butters, maple syrup, hummus, cream cheeses etc.).
On the other hand, pretty much all kinds of solid foods are okay to bring without limitation. I often travel with more food than clothes in my hand luggage and never had any issues. You may get a strange look or a funny comment, but besides that you’re good to go.
If you’re bringing fresh fruit or veggies, watch out for possible restrictions at your destination. (This can become a serious infraction – so pay attention!) Due to the risk of spreading invasive plant pests, those are sometimes not allowed to bring into another country. So to make things simple: just eat everything before you arrive.
Quickly Summarized: Wet Nay, Dry Yay!
Technically you can bring pretty much everything you would usually bring when you’re out and about. Here are some lunch / snack ideas you can take:
- Rice, potato or quinoa salad with the dressing already mixed in; try our Low FODMAP Coconut Rice Salad with Pineapple & Herbs
- Sandwich with gluten-free or spelt bread
- Sealed bag of dry oatmeal and flax / chia seeds (you can ask for a cup and mix it with some hot water on the plane)
- Savoury muffins; try our Low FODMAP Cornbread Muffins
- Hard boiled eggs (put them in an air sealed bag or container to avoid bad smell)
- Veggie sticks (make sure to eat any raw ingredients before you arrive at your destination)
- Low FODMAP fruits (banana (unripe), strawberries, blueberries, oranges, grapes, cherry tomatoes, melon (not watermelon), clementines)
- Plain potato chips or popcorn
- Gluten-free or spelt pretzels or crackers
- Low FODMAP Chex Mix Snack (see below)
- Rice cakes with nut butter or seed butter (spread the nut butter before TSA inspection)
- Low FODMAP hard cheese and rice crackers
- Dark Chocolate bar or other energy / granola bars
Don’t Forget To Bring A Bottle For Water!
This should give you plenty of options to stay satisfied and within your diet. Besides that, make sure to drink enough too. When flying you need extra fluids to stay hydrated. For that I always take an empty water bottle through TSA inspection, which I can then refill after security and bring with me onto the plane. Also, I already start consuming more water the day before. Not sure if that’s really a thing, but it helps me. So it may help you too.
Enjoy The Ride
Okay, what else is there left to say? Not much. Just: don‘t let flying stress you out. Never rush, it’s better to take enough time and be at the airport early. I’m pretty sure you’ll find something to do around there if you have to wait for a while. Shopping for example…Or eating. Here are a few tips I’ve written on how to navigate around airport foods: Finding Low FODMAP Food Options at Airports.
Now I wish you a relaxed flight. Enjoy your travels. Oh and please leave a comment: We’d love to know about your flying experiences. I’m a little travel addict myself and can’t wait to hear your stories. Also, feel free to get in touch with me directly anytime.
♡ Angi (@theintolerantwanderer (www.instagram.com/theintolerantwanderer)
Handy Card for Waiters and Kitchen Staff
To help make it a bit easier to communicate to your waiter and the restaurant kitchen staff about your dietary restrictions you can download and print out this card – using both or just the AVOID side of the card. We suggest either making a few you can give out as you dine out – or one you laminate and keep in your wallet or purse and hand to the waiter as they ensure your meal is safe to eat. These cards are 3″ x 4″. The size of a standard index card. We suggest printing to card stock.
Just click on the image to download the PDF to your computer for printing.