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Healthy Tip: Traveling Food for Planes and Trains

Are you traveling this holiday season? Before you head out over the hills and through the woods, we’ve pulled together our best tips for a 3-part “Eating on the Holiday Go” series. Whether you’re traveling by plane, train or automobile, we’ve got suggestions to help you eat well along the way. We’ve even got some tricks to help you once you’re at your final destination. It’s a darn shame, but most airports, train stations and roadside stops offer little more than the standard American junk food fare. The good news is you can bring your own food, and it doesn’t have to be complicated! Today we’re tackling plane and train travel, tomorrow is for car food travel tips and finally we’re covering tips for when you are at your destination. Enjoy and please share your favorite tips too! Foods for Planes and Trains With so many specific security rules about what you can and can’t take on board an aircraft these days, it’s always a good idea to check the TSA website for food and liquid restrictions. Once you’re clear about that, there are foods that you can pack to help you and your family eat well, which will keep you feeling better on your trip. Remember, too, that you can purchase food and water at the airport, after clearing security. Train travel is less restrictive – at least for now!
  • If you have an early morning flight or train, you can’t beat packets of instant organic plain oatmeal along with a baggie filled with nuts and raisins! The attendants will have hot water and cups for mixing.
  • Trail mix is perfect. Nuts, dried fruits, unsweetened coconut flakes and whole grain cereals make a filling, no-mess snack. This Popcorn Trail Mix is fun to take along.
  • Mini cracker sandwiches made from cream cheese or hummus and sliced tomatoes and bell peppers make a refreshing, crunchy snack.
  • Fruit bars, nut bars, protein bars and other shelf-stable goodies are a must. If you want to make your own, here is a recipe for Cherry Orange Oatmeal Outdoor Bars and here is a recipe for Chocolate Earth Balls.
  • Individual packages of yogurt, applesauce, fruit cups, organic corn chips and vegetarian bean dip are great. (Some of these aren’t allowed through airport security, but good for the train.) Add some sliced carrots, celery, cucumber, radish and bell peppers.
  • For a meal, pack some sandwiches. Peanut or almond butter with fruit-sweetened jam or bananas; hummus or guacamole with veggies, cheese and tomato; or a turkey, tuna or egg salad sandwich that you know you can keep cold and eat within a couple of hours. These Apple Tahini Sandwiches are easy to make and travel well.
  • Take or purchase a bottle of cold water after you get through security and pack it in an insulated bag next to stuff you want to keep fresh and cold.
  • Many airports have restaurants where you can order a sandwich on whole grain to take with you on your trip. Best bets: Turkey, grilled chicken, hummus (if they have it), and plenty of raw veggies even if all they have is lettuce, onions, and tomatoes.
  • Remember to stay well hydrated, especially while flying. Get water on the plane or carry some on.
  • If eating a meal provided by the airline, call ahead and see what special diet options they have (vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.). These meals may have more vegetables, fruits and whole grains than their standard fare.
Remember, travel delays are not uncommon at holiday time and throughout the winter. Pack some extra shelf stable food to help see you through just in case. Got a healthy travel snack you pack for planes or trains? What do you take along? I’d love to know.