Are You Allowed to Bring Food on Your Carry On? YES you are. I hope that just made your entire week. I’ve been traveling with food in my carry on luggage for the last decade and it’s helped me so much with my health and sanity when I travel.
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It’s that time of the year right before the holidays when everyone is busy traveling to see family, holiday shopping, attending cocktail parties and eating foods we’re not used to eating on a regular basis. Sugar cookies, flight delays and eggnog sound familiar?
If you typically get home from holiday travel feeling exhausted, bloated or foggy-brained, you’re not alone. Travel takes a toll on our health, especially short trips that aren’t long enough to let us settle into a healthy, balanced routine. So, before you kick off your holiday travel plans and step foot on the plane, train or in your car, here are a few of my favorite anti-inflammatory snacks that can easily go into your carry on luggage. The snacks keep me healthy, energized and ready to take on my entire extended family. Remember, what you put in your body is what you get out. Feeding yourself clean, whole, organic foods will allow you to go into and come out of the holidays feeling your best. Instead of reaching for the usual heavy cream-filled, starchy, high sugar holiday foods that are quite inflammatory, reach for some of the below anti-inflammatory options to keep your body happy.
Wherever you’re headed this holiday season, print out this page to act as your checklist for what to pack this year to keep you sane. Use a red pen and mark a check mark next to each item after you place it in your carry-on bag so you don’t forget anything. All of these foods can easily be stored in your carry on luggage when you’re flying: use a thermos for the soup so you don’t get yourself in a mess with the takeoff.
And p.s. These are all TSA-approved snacks if you’re traveling via airplane this holiday season so toss them into your bag for a saner way to travel.
Anti-Inflammatory CLEAN EATING Checklist
- Probiotic-Rich Foods: For me, gut health is my #1 priority so ensuring I am getting enough good-quality probiotics in my body is key for a healthy trip. It’s tough to travel with fermented foods because they smell like dirty socks so try drinking a bottle of kombucha when you’re at the airport or when you’re on the road in route to your family’s home for the next few days–because we all know you’ll be served foods that you don’t usually eat- that will most likely make your belly not-so-happy. I know you know this feeling!
- Detoxifying Whole Food Fiber: It’s a word that’s tossed around a lot these days but there are many different types of fiber and they’re not all created equal. Your best bet? Reach for whole fruits, veggies (think berries, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.), gluten-free whole grains (quinoa, wild rice, sorghum, and millet), raw nuts and seeds. These whole foods are naturally full of fiber, which helps food move through our digestive tract more easily so our bodies can flush out the toxins we’re exposed to on a daily basis. Don’t sweat this; I know how hard it can be to get in your servings of fresh foods but you can easily cook up a bunch of grains on a Sunday night along with roasting or steaming veggies and store them in a sealed glass container in your fridge to bring with you on your trip. I often use Ball jars and add my whole grains and veggies along with some nuts and seeds or avocado for healthy fats. So, what type of fiber should you steer clear of? Those processed bars and boxes of foods you see in the food store that aren’t made from real, whole foods. These foods end up doing the total opposite of what fiber should be doing for us- they actually create inflammation inside our bodies instead of getting rid of it!
- Pureed Soups: As mentioned above, I often roast a bunch of vegetables on a Sunday night and then I puree them in a high-speed blender until they resemble a creamy soup consistency and store them in Ball jars for the week. Pureed soups are so easy on our digestive tract because our body doesn’t have to work as hard to digest large chunks of food. You’re allowing your body to have more time to repair and relax other organs while you do a lot of the work for your stomach by pureeing the veggies. You can add coconut oil, full-fat coconut milk, ripe avocado or extra-virgin olive oil to the soup for a much-needed dose of healthy fat and creaminess. Bring these soups with you on your trip or enjoy them on your way to the airport with a spoon or straw, but be sure to chew the soup well! Yes, surprisingly we’re supposed to chew soup. Just because a food is pureed, doesn’t mean you don’t have to chew. You’ve gotta get those enzymes working in your mouth for the digestion process to kick off. Pureeing and chewing your food is an easy way to forgo bloating, which many of us get from eating too fast or not chewing enough! I often drink these soups on my way to the airport or on the train/in the car and then I clean out the glass jar and lid in the bathroom and reuse it with beverages on my trip! To give you some suggestions, here is my favorite Pureed Cauliflower Soup Recipe and my Pureed Carrot Fennel Soup.
- Extra-Ripe Avocado: One of my favorite snacks that holds me over on a long holiday flight is bringing a ripe avocado with me and a spoon. Super easy and very satisfying! Just open up the avocado with a plastic spoon from the food court and eat each half with your spoon.
- Reduce Sugar: Want to know why you often get a hangover feeling or energy crash from the snacks at the airport? They’re loaded with sugar! Yes, even those roasted nuts and crackers. Instead, feed your sweet tooth with fresh or dried fruit (see below) and when you get to your destination, chose desserts made with pure maple syrup and honey- not high fructose corn syrup or white sugar!
- Herbal Tea Bags: These are a must for me. I often travel with a few organic herbal tea bags so that all I need to do is ask for a cup and hot water from one of the coffee shops. Bring your own tea bags for yourself so you can zen out on the plane or train instead of reaching for soda or sugary energy drink. Chamomile is so soothing and relaxing; try bringing a few bags of Chamomile tea with you this season.
- Gluten-Free Oatmeal: Similar to the above tea bag idea, I do the same thing with oatmeal. I bring a few sealable bags with ½ cup of oatmeal in each bag and then transfer the oatmeal to a cup at a coffee shop and ask for hot water. There’s often cinnamon and honey at the coffee shop for coffee so I add that to my oatmeal. Then I add in my own raw almonds for a healthy dose of fat to hold me over. Bob’s Red Mill has individual oatmeal packages they sell for travel and on the go breakfasts.
- Raw Nuts/Seeds and Nut/Seed Butters: You can bring a sealable bag filled with your favorite nuts and seeds such as raw walnuts (anti-inflammatory), almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pecans and Brazil nuts. Steer clear of peanuts and pistachios because they tend to be high in mold and that’s the last thing you need when you’re on an airplane. Your best bet is to purchase nuts and seeds at your local health food store in their raw form because the nuts and seeds sold in the airport are full of added refined sugar, salt and oils, which are all inflammatory. You can also carry along your favorite nut butter packets; many brands are making almond butter and sunflower seed butter packets now so you can use those for an easy one-time use served with crackers while you’re traveling. I love using Nuts.com nuts and the almond butter individual packets from Once Again Nut Butter.
- Fresh Fruit: My favorite fruits to carry with me when traveling are apples, clementine’s and blueberries (stored in a small glass container). They’re easy to eat and I always pair them with a healthy fat to stabilize my blood sugar. So, I’ll do an apple with almond butter or a clementine with a handful of walnuts. Try to pair all your fruits with a healthy fat to ensure your blood sugar is stable. This is key for travel so you don’t get shaky and irritable.
- No-Added Sugar Dried Fruit: Many dried fruits are full of added sugar and sulfur so be sure to get no-sugar added dried fruits and no sulfur added for the purest form. I often use Medjool dates; they’re a great snack and loaded with nutrients. I remove the pit inside the date and stuff each date with a spoonful of creamy almond butter for a simple snack when I’m on airplanes. Made in Nature is a clean brand that’s chemical-free and delicious.
So, the next time someone asks you, “Are you allowed to bring food on your carry on” you know what to tell them.
Safe travels, my loves.
Share your thoughts
Please do not bring nuts on planes. For people with life threatening allergies that could equal death. Thank you.
Thanks Jessica; if people are traveling by plane they can bring seeds instead!
Love these ideas, I will have to try the oatmeal. Sometimes I bring miso soup packets for the plane!
Thank you Elizabeth; they’re super helpful for long flights. Happy holidays!
I’m surprised the soup gets through. I had two yogurts in my bag and it was a no go. If you ask me, yogurt is more solid than liquid, but TSA wasn’t having it. Sometimes it depends on the airport, so I recommend double checking before packing the yummy soup!
I totally agree Lori. NYC airports are so strict. Happy Holidays!