The Best DIY Airplane Food

The solution to in-flight cravings? Pack your own meal.

sticks and dip, carrot, celery sticks
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sticks and dip, carrot, celery sticks
Christine Balderas
Sticks and Dips
Pick up a package of pre-cut carrot and celery sticks at the local grocery store before your flight. Several companies now sell mini individual-sized tubs—remember, airline restrictions prohibit containers larger than 3 ounces—of peanut butter, hummus or ranch servings. It’s an easy, healthy holdover for a long flight.
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cup-o-noodles
Claudia Cioncan
Cup-o-Noodles
Grab a cup of instant-soup, either the cheap stuff like Cup-O-Noodles or a fancier version of Thai just-add-water noodle bowls. Most flight attendants will get you a cup of hot water they’d normally use for tea—just wait until they’ve finished their service rounds before asking for it. (That will reduce the chance they end up dumping it in your lap during the chaotic food service period.)
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crystal light
John Matzick
Crystal Light
You’re not allowed to bring more than three ounces of liquid through security—so kiss that big $4 bottle of Fiji water goodbye. (Drinks you purchase after passing security are yours to travel with.) But if you bring an empty bottle, you can fill it up post-security—for free!—at a water fountain. Add Crystal Light for a sweet, low-cal drink to keep you hydrated during the flight.
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pita
Martin Gold
Pita Pocket
More of a meal than a snack, pack a whole wheat pita with lettuce, turkey, and cheese. Skip the onions, to save your seatmate from your breath; no avocadoes, which quickly brown; no mayo, to save you a trip to the emergency room after it’s been at room temp for awhile; no tomatoes, which make the bread soggy. The protein from the cheese and meat will keep you energized, and the fiber from the whole wheat and lettuce will keep you feeling full.
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bag of individually-wrapped candies or chocolate squares
Trevor Fisher
Bag of Individually-Wrapped Candies or Chocolate Squares
It’s easy to scarf down hundreds of extra calories and fat on a flight. You’re bored and trapped, ideal conditions for mindless eating. Having to unwrap each candy like a Ghirardelli square or a Tootsie Roll can slow your sweet-binging process, especially when compared to a bag of M&M’s or Reese’s Pieces, which you can dump by the handful directly into your mouth. Plus seeing how few candies remain in the bag may convince you snack time is over.
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