When we travel we want to carry different things with us. It is a tricky question for all passengers what is allowed to bring. Different kinds of liquids, souvenirs, and especially food for those who are following a special diet might cause some problems.
Meals and food we can buy on airplanes are not something that we eat at home. Some travelers have allergies or food restrictions, or just want to have their own prepped meal during the flight.
To bring your meal-prepped food, the most important thing to know is what kind of food you can or can`t bring onboard. If it is a long-distance flight or you just like to prep your meals, you need to be sure that you are carrying the right things.
Let`s see what food is allowed and if can you take meal prep on the plane. Also, there are things that we need to pay attention to, so we can have a careless trip.
Foods that we usually get during the flight are warmed-up plastic meals, bars, and nuts and we do not have enough information about that. We don`t know anything about the preparation procedure, meal selection, or where it came from.
Meals are usually produced on the ground near airports. Catering facilities are making them and then they stay in refrigerators for the cabin crew to heat and serve on board.
It is safe to eat airplane food. But, when you make meals yourself you know what you eat, where it came from and the process of preparation. It is better to get your prepared meals because you are sure that they are good for your diet.
Food that you can take on the airplane
There is a rule for carrying food on the plane. You can carry your snacks as long as they comply with TSA regulations. The liquid rule 3-1-1 applies to spreadable foods, like soft cheese, or peanut butter, and liquids like yogurt, chocolate milk, and so on. However, this rule does not apply to liquids and foods bought after going through airport security. You can have as many foods and beverages as long as you buy them at the airport shop.
Transportation security administration will allow you to transport solid food in your carry-on. But, gel or liquid food items bigger than 3.4 oz have to be in checked baggage if possible.
Liquid and gel foods are things that can spread, spray, pour, or spill. If they are smaller than 3.4 oz you can have them in your bag. Remember, only one bag like this is allowed per passenger.
When you go through security you must have natural, whole foods like veggies or fruits. Also, they have to be in a wrapper or a container. Loose cheeseburgers or sandwiches are not things that you can carry. Everything that you carry will go through X-rays.
List of the foods that you can take
When you want to have your meal prep on the plane you need to know what food you can include in your dishes:
1. Spreadable food.
If spreadable edibles or cream cheese, peanut butter, or Nutella, are in your carry-on bag, you must pack them by the 3-1-1 rule. Every container must be 3.4oz or smaller.
2. Cans and bottles.
This food follows the same regulations as spreadable foods if we can spill or pour them. For example, jellies, jams, honey, soups, and dips have to be decanted into 100 milliliters (or 3.4 ounces) or smaller containers. They should be in checked bags if possible because they appear on x-rays.
3. Packaged food and vacuum-sealed meals.
Their products are safe to travel with because they are sealed and non-liquid. Pre-sealed products or insulated bags are available in lots of stores and are small enough so they can fit in your checked bag or carry-on.
4. Cakes and pies.
Whole or slices of cakes and pies are acceptable for carry-ons. You have permission to transport brownies, donuts, cupcakes, cookies, gingerbread, fruitcake, and dry baking mixes. They might ask you to place them beneath the seat in front of you, not in the overhead bin.
5. Seafood and meat.
Meat is something that you can take with you, but it must be properly packed. Wrapping or sealing is important because it will prevent odors or fluids from escaping. Seafood has the same rules as meat.
6. Solid food and cheese.
Sandwiches, chips, crackers, grains, dry beans, and pasta can be in your carry-on luggage. All kinds of solid and dry foods are good to go, but to be sure, always check TSA`s list of prohibited items. Solid chocolate, cheese, peanuts, and almonds can also carry with you.
These rules, of course, can be different for every state or airline. That is why before you plan your meals, check the rules of the airline you are using and the country that you are traveling to.
Meal prep when you travel
When you travel a lot, and if your flights are long, meal prep can be a lifesaver. You need delicious, nutritious, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly food. Here are some easy ideas to try next time you go on a journey.
For breakfast, you can use overnight oats. Make sure that you put something like dry or fresh fruits, nuts, or any other solid food. Avoid peanut butter or honey. It might happen that this causes a problem because it is considered liquid. You can eat a nutritious breakfast and then recycle the container.
You can buy coffee when you pass the security, if you have a plastic or silicon straw and coffee mug, even better. This way it can be easier to handle it on a flight.
Lunch can be something like spaghetti squash with grated parmesan, ground turkey, and spinach. You can put that in a collapsible silicone meal prep container. They are good because they don`t take up a lot of space in your bag.
For snacks, you can make protein bars or balls made of oatmeal, almond butter, and chocolate chips. Pack them in an empty jar so they don`t change their shape in your bag. You can recycle empty jars when you eat them.
Dinner can contain similar food as lunch. For example, grilled chicken, vegetables, potatoes, and anything that doesn`t classify as a liquid. Of course, they need to be properly packed in separate bags that you can recycle later.
You need to make sure that, whatever food you choose, has a proper package and that it does not contain liquid. It has to be in a ziplock bag, a jar that you can seal, or a plastic leak-through container.
How to pack your plane food properly?
Meal prep is a great thing and has many benefits. Preparing ahead of time and finding the food you enjoy is a great thing and you don`t have to stop doing that when you are traveling. However, taking food on the airplane has some rules that you need to follow.
When you pack food in your carry-on luggage, use tightly sealed, transparent ziplock bags. You can pack meals that you prefer or allergy-free, vegan, or vegetarian food. Prepare some protection or small packs of ice in case you need to carry food that needs preservation.
Pack your items in little bags, so you don`t fill up the whole bag. For example, you can pack two bags of bars and nuts, instead of one bag with a sandwich.
Divide the bags into meal-sized portions for better packing. That is to say, one bag can have veggies, one hard-boiled egg, hard cheese, grilled chicken, and so on. Also, you can get a few more individual snacks or desserts like cookies or cupcakes.
Choose food that you can`t spay, spill, spread, or pour or that is not gel or liquid, pack it according to the ideas above and there should not be problems at the airport.
The bottom line
These days, food restrictions are different and they are more strict than they were a couple of decades ago. So, the advice is to check all the regulations for the airline you are using and the country you are visiting. Stay well informed and there will be no problems.
The good news is that there are a lot of options for meal prep because there is a lot of food that you can have on the plane. So you will be able to find TSA-approved food and snacks for your next flight.
Follow the rules for meal prep and for carrying food on a plane. This way you will enjoy the food you love and you will, for sure, enjoy your flight.