I love travelling, but travelling as a picky-eater is not all that easy. Especially if you seem to be allergic to a lot of things, or have a sensitive tummy in general. Luckily, going plant-based (or vegan) makes travelling for those of us with food sensitivities a whole lot easier!
I knew I was lactose intolerant, and certain things like eggs or items made with eggs like mayonnaise would make me sick. If I ate a salad and it was even slightly off/old, I would get sick. Any undercooked meat or even a tad old would, you guessed it, make me sick.
So over the last few years, I got nervous flying. I would try to cut out everything dairy, but I’d still get tummy aches. I tried cutting out all meat & seafood products when flying, but again, I’d get tummy aches.
Eventually, I had a “wake-up call” while shopping at the local Target in Hilo on a sunny day in July. I was looking for tasty snacks to bring on my flight from Hawaii to Curacao, and it finally hit me… why don’t I pretend I’m vegan and travel as if I were a gluten-free vegan. I figured it would be a safe option – no dairy, no eggs, no meat or seafood, and no gluten.
At the time, I was the furthest thing from a vegan. But I thought I’d instead try that and have a pleasant flight than eat whatever I want and feel awful for even some part of my trip.
So I bought a bunch of entirely gluten-free snacks and 100% vegan, and to my big surprise, I didn’t have a single tummy ache at all! In fact, I felt amazing the whole flight. So I decided from that day on, I would only pack gluten-free, vegan foods while flying or travelling. I hope this post gives you some great ideas on what you can pack for your trip! (Especially if you or those travelling with you, have a sensitive tummy or if you are a newbie vegan/plant-based eater.)
By the way, in case you are wondering, I’m now 100% plant-based as of October 25th.
Pack Your Own Snacks & Food
If you have time to make your own lunches and snacks, here are some nice ideas:
- Dried fruit – I opted for the 100% natural organic types, without any added sugar or extra ingredients
- Raw nuts – I don’t like flavoured or salted nuts, so I chose raw nuts. I also retain a ton of water on flights, so the extra salt certainly does not help, and if anything, makes me retain even more water. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than having your hands, feet and face swell up on long flights!
- Gluten-free & vegan crackers, like these
- Gluten-free pretzels
- Instant noodles – ok, I know these are not the healthiest option – but I pack them anyway as an emergency back-up type meal. You’d think that finding vegan salads in the airport is easy… it really isn’t all that easy. Many times the salads have chicken, ham, bacon, cheese or other non-plant based items on them. Vegan airport sandwiches are also almost non-existent! So definitely plan ahead, especially if you are plant-based and gluten-free!
- Hummus! Hummus is fantastic to pack. And if you can’t pack it ahead of time, then you can almost always buy some at the airport. You can eat your hummus with your gluten-free pretzels and crackers.
- Fresh fruit – depending on where you are flying, you will not be able to pack fresh fruit. Still, the good news is, you can almost always pick up an apple or banana in the terminals.
- Oatmeal – you can pick up oatmeal cups from the grocery store and eat it for breakfast or a snack! Add your raw nuts and some banana slices, and you’ve got yourself a delicious little meal. If you can, get your hot water for your oatmeal cups (and noodle cups) from a local coffee shop in the terminal. Yes, the airlines do provide hot water… but not all airlines have hot filtered water. And the tap water or planes is absolutely nasty tasting! A word of advice…
- Popcorn and vegan chocolate – can I say more?
- Sandwiches & wraps – if you have time, plan ahead and make your own delicious sandwiches or wraps. Pack them nicely in a cooled, insulated bag. Just remember that the ice-pack has to be in a frozen state when going thru security.
- Salads – if you have the time to plan ahead, pack your own fresh salads! That way, you’ll never be disappointed. Use separate containers for salad dressings, but keep in mind the 100ml liquid limit and pack both your salad and salad dressing in an insulated lunch bag with your ice pack.
- Protein powder – I like packing protein powder in case of emergencies. You never know if your flight gets delayed and you need something now! You can mix your protein powder with filtered water or any non-dairy milk, like almond milk or soy milk.
Purchase Snacks & Food At The Airport
If you are at the airport, here are some plant-based foods you can purchase before your flight:
- Most airport stores will sell mixed nuts, dried fruits, fresh fruits, popcorn, pretzels and some chips. Just be sure to read the ingredients!
- A lot of pre-made sandwiches are not vegan! They’ll either have some meat, cheese, mayo or fish… so instead, try to find a food court where you can order:
- Veggie burger wrapped in lettuce (Tip: just because the burger patty may be plant-based, that doesn’t mean that the bun is plant-based. A lot of the time, the buns have eggs. Also, if you are going for gluten-free, lettuce wrapped is a safe option.
- Veggie burrito – rice, beans, veggies, guacamole, salsa, cilantro and squeeze of lime! YUM! But… again… ask questions. Sometimes the rice or beans could be cooked in an animal-based broth.
- Fries – if there’s nothing else… French fries are another option… but again, ask questions! Believe it or not, although fries are just potatoes and they could be cooked in vegetable type oil… they sometimes do fry meat products in the same oil as the fries.
- I love Starbucks! So I’ll pick up a vegan Starbucks drink. I’ll be creating a blog post soon that includes a list of vegan beverages that are 100% vegan. I’m doing this because I’ve been to a few blogs now where it says “vegan Starbucks drinks,” and when I order it, they’ve told me it’s actually not 100% vegan. For example, the white chocolate mocha sauce & caramel sauce both contain milk products.
Purchase Snacks Onboard
If you are already onboard, here are some plant-based foods you can purchase for your flight:
- They usually sell snacks and meals on the plane, depending on the length of the flight. In the past couple of trips, we got a hummus platter, which included 2 types of hummus, some pita bread and some raw veggies (carrots and cucumbers). The pita bread gives me a stomach ache, and I leave the cucumbers. If the cucumbers are even just a tad off, I’ll be “sick as a dog,” so I usually eat the hummus and the carrots. My hubby, who is also plant-based, will eat everything in the hummus platter, so I’ll give him my leftovers.
I'd Love To Hear From You!
I’d love to hear your comments! Do you have any suggestions on what else you think I need to add to this list? I’d love to hear them! Scroll down to the bottom of this page to share your thoughts.
♡ Love, Nash