Hello from Houston, Texas!  I have an hour layover, and I’m very excited to see some complimentary Wi-Fi.  Yeeeehaw, Texas!


I always feel like I’ve entered a strange time warp whenever I travel across the country.  It’s weird to lose or gain three hours!


My day started at 5:45 AM California time when I woke up with a start.  I was having strange dreams about being stuck on a bicycle (oh, the irony) and couldn’t fall back asleep.  Jenna knocked on my bedroom door a little later, and then we took off for the airport.


On the way, I grabbed a Starbucks breakfast of Perfect Oatmeal and a Skim Vanilla Latte:


I pumped up the Starbucks oatmeal by adding a sliced banana, brown sugar, and cinnamon.


On my first flight, I read a wonderful book that Jenna loaned me called Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay:

Sarah’s Key tells the story of two women – Sarah, a French Jew who is deported to a concentration camp during WWII, and Julia, a 45 year-old woman living in the present day who uncovers Sarah’s story.  It was very moving, and I felt the tears prick behind my eyeballs multiple times.  Too bad I was sitting in the center seat and could barely hid my tears from the fellow passengers!


While reading, I snacked on a strawberry breakfast bar:


And a little while later, I had lunch.


The key to eating healthy in the air is to PLAN AHEAD.  It’s hard to pack healthy meals when you’re coming back to your home (since you don’t have your kitchen), so I always scout the airport before getting on the plane to find the healthiest meal.  I often buy ‘parts’ of my meal from multiple restaurants to make the most complete meal possible.


Lunch was a vegetable orzo pasta salad, which I ate 2/3 of:


And a BIG garden salad.   I picked at this salad for more than 15 minutes and still didn’t finish it.  I felt like a rabbit gnawing on a yummy vegetable garden!


I also had two small packets of peanuts.


Now that I’m on my layover, I’m about to hunt through the terminal and find a healthy dinner to eat on my next flight.


My seconds include an Italian place, Subway, and a Chinese joint.  I really would love a veggie burger or some tofu, but I think that’s pretty far-fetched to hope for! 


Do you pack meals for airplanes?  What do you pack?  Or do you buy food once you get the airport?  What’s your go-to airport meal?



  • Errign May 25, 2010, 5:39 pm

    Safe travels back! Haven’t commented since before your century – but you rocked it!

  • Allie (Live Laugh Eat) May 25, 2010, 5:40 pm

    I usually pack a bunch of snacks and ab+ban sammie for relatively short trips. I try to drink a GM that morning to get my veggie fill. Happy travels.

  • Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! May 25, 2010, 5:40 pm

    I definitely pack ahead for flights. I’ll usually pack a wrap with something that won’t get soggy or gross, like almond butter and banana. I also usually bring lots of fruit, especially apples. At airports, I usually buy a big green salad (the one you bought looks great!) and a skim latte for some protein. Safe travels home and again…CONGRATULATIONS! 🙂

  • Lisa May 25, 2010, 5:41 pm

    I always always pack– I hate the stress of finding something affordable and healthy at the airport!

  • Megan @ Eat.Scrap.Run May 25, 2010, 5:42 pm

    I had nightmares the few days I was reading Sarah’s Key. I couldn’t get the images out of my mind!! It is an amazing book though.

    I pack snacks for when I am flying, but not meals. I usually just do the best I can at the airport before getting on my plane if I have to eat. Soup and salad at the airport Chili’s is my “go to” meal.

    • Carrie H May 25, 2010, 5:46 pm

      Oh no — I just checked this out, and books/tv shows/movies with strong themes always give me nightmares — AND my husband is out of town! Maybe I’ll wait to read it.

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers May 25, 2010, 5:42 pm

    I pack meals for airplanes if I can because the choices are always so random, but a lot of times you just have to make the best of it. I do the same thing- grab different things from different places.

  • Jenny May 25, 2010, 5:45 pm

    When I’m in the airport I usually stick to the simple purchases (juice, pre-made salads, yogurt) you can buy at to-go stands. Packing doesn’t work often because everything gets confiscated at security! At least it often does for me:(

  • Carrie H May 25, 2010, 5:45 pm

    I literally just checked that book out an hour ago from my public library. It isn’t too much of a coincidence though, cause I got it off Jenna’s reading list, lol.

  • Kathleen May 25, 2010, 5:45 pm

    It is so hard to eat healthy in airports. Even the way overpriced salads are packed with hidden calories. Nature Valley bars and apples are great for travel though.

  • Dorry May 25, 2010, 5:46 pm

    I travel often and always try to plan ahead with healthy, filling snacks. Larabars, apples, bananas, dried fruit, nuts, etc. I crave fresh foods so I’ll bring a veggie packed salad in a Tupperware. If I’m in a bind at the airport, Starbucks or other coffee shops always have fruit or oatmeal (like your breakfast!).

  • Evan Thomas May 25, 2010, 5:47 pm

    I always bring a bag of trailmix on a plane. It’s super compact calories that are nutritious.

  • Danielle May 25, 2010, 5:47 pm

    I usually back a few snack bars and then pick-up fresh food once I’m past security. It’s certainly more expensive but most airports have really great salad options lately and a piece of fruit is always a nice treat.

  • Kelly May 25, 2010, 5:48 pm

    I pack a TON of food- usually a peanut butter sandwich, some nuts and dried fruit, bananas etc. Yum. I love to eat on planes, the food I bring of course 🙂
    I’ve read Sarah’s Key and it is definitely worthy of a few tears! I hate when I’m watching a sad movie on a plane and others are watching it too and I’m like oh boy the whole plane is fighting back tears right now haha

  • Natalie May 25, 2010, 5:49 pm

    I’m impressed! I usually indulge with a gigantic Jamba Juice and trashy magazines. You are so much more civilized!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is May 25, 2010, 5:55 pm

    I just saw that book online when scouring for beach reads. I really want to read it!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) May 25, 2010, 5:56 pm

    Safe travels!!! And I agree – packing ahead for long travel is a MUST!!!!

  • Lisa May 25, 2010, 6:03 pm

    I never used to pack ahead. I was more of a wing it kind of girl. As a college student, I am just starting to become aware of the importance of nutrition and can def see myself prepping for future trips.

  • Rachel May 25, 2010, 6:07 pm

    Safe travels! A big howdy from a fellow Texan (in Dallas though!)

    The last time I flew was to Italy and it was pretty difficult to bring any kind of produce. I instead brought a huge pack of assorted varieties of 100 Calorie Packs. However, as usual, they didn’t satisfy me at all. I ate the airplane food (they had full meals since it was an overseas flight), and chugged lots and lots of water.

  • Janelle May 25, 2010, 6:10 pm

    My go-to is always PB&J (or PB & Banana – extra special if it is on cinnamon raisin bread). I swear it is the one sandwich that tastes better when it is slightly smooshed and warm.

    • caitlin May 26, 2010, 9:03 am

      i agree, i love warm and smooshed PB sammies!!

    • Corinne (breathe and savor) May 26, 2010, 12:04 pm

      Could not agree with you more. Definitely my go to and I am never upset when the banana shmushes! ha

  • Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) May 25, 2010, 6:14 pm

    I haven’t been on a plane in 20 years since going to Disney World as a child! Now I feel old and deprived, lol. 🙁

    That orzo salad looks delish. I love Starbucks oatmeal, I got it once with all the toppings they had. 🙂


  • Rachel May 25, 2010, 6:16 pm

    Woo hoo! I’m in Houston 🙂 The airport is pretty good and usually has some good options for healthy food…hope you found some good stuff 🙂

  • Bethany @ More Fruit Please May 25, 2010, 6:19 pm

    Great tips! I really struggle with eating healthy while traveling since I usually feel like I’m at the mercy of the airport fast food eateries. I’ll definitely take your suggestion of piecing together meals!

  • Lisa May 25, 2010, 6:25 pm

    I usually bring some fruit with me that’s easy to eat: bananas, apples, etc. Most of the flying I’ve done in the past few years has been fairly short (2-3 hours to Vegas, etc) so I didn’t have to worry about it too much.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) May 25, 2010, 6:25 pm

    i’ve never packed meals for the airport, but i’m thinking i should start! the veggie + orzo salad looks heavenly 🙂

  • Camille May 25, 2010, 6:27 pm

    I generally don’t get hungry when I fly. I always feel so heavy when I eat in the air! I try and eat a big meal before I go and then grab something when I land 🙂

  • GirlonRaw May 25, 2010, 6:27 pm

    I know the feeling regarding travelling (as I do it for a living) and planning ahead (as I am really very disorganised!)

    Oh well it appears you have done a good job!

  • Claire May 25, 2010, 6:28 pm

    I always try to bring a wrap or sandwich filled with a nut butter and banana or jam. I also like to bring a larabar, sliced veggies, and an apple for quick on the go options but sometimes resort to au bon pain, etc. for some other good options if they have one!

  • lauren @ Eater not a runner May 25, 2010, 6:30 pm

    I usually pack some fruit and healthy bars to supplement what I find at the airport. You can usually find oatmeal, fruit cups, yogurt, and garden salads at the various places. The protein plate at Starbucks is usually a good choice as well!

  • Sarah (Enjoying One Meal at a Time) May 25, 2010, 6:31 pm

    I read Sarah’s Key last year. It was definitly a sad one!

    I usually try to pack some traveling snacks. You know know what or when you’ll be able to find good or unexpensive food when traveling.

  • Amy May 25, 2010, 6:33 pm

    Talk about time warp – when I fly from Okinawa, Japan to California in June I will land before I take off! Crazy!

  • Lindsay May 25, 2010, 6:38 pm

    I’m from Houston! I think you’re at the airport that I only use when I’m flying Southwest, and I’m pretty sure they have next to nothing healthy there 🙁 Our other airport is awesome though 😀

  • Miranda @ MirandasJeans May 25, 2010, 6:47 pm

    I have a lot of anxiety when it comes to travelling. I truly am inexperienced when it comes to healthy airline eating. I also have anxiety about planning ahead, bringing food with me and then having it confiscated at security then then being left with nothing. The second anixety I have with travelling (mainly down south carribian) is what food can I bring with me because I can’t stand the resort food, so unhealthy and mysterious as to what could be in it.

  • Lindsay @ Summit Sandwiches May 25, 2010, 6:51 pm

    I always make sure to pack lots of snacks with me just in case nothing suits my fancy at the airport. I take along some all-natural bars (i.e. Larabars or KIND bars), trail mix w/nuts and dried fruit, and a baggie of munchable veggies like carrot and celery sticks. Avoid fruit though! I once threw a pear in my carry-on on a lark. Don’t repeat my mistake! Things that might smash will smash when you bring them on an airplane.

  • eatmovelove May 25, 2010, 6:56 pm

    Hah – the last time I was at a airport – I missed 2 connections and was drowned from the pouring rain…I ate a burger from Burger King followed up by a large Cookies N Creme bowl from a “sugar” shop there!

    So yeah…but normally! ;)…trail mix, candy(!) licorice swedish fish, fruits, …whatever…I always find the salads at Airports are too much “rabbit-food” – like all lettuce with a few tomatoes on top 🙁

  • emptynutjar May 25, 2010, 7:01 pm

    Definitely fruits, trail mix, granola bars, etc…too bad cannot bring nut butter and yogurt any longer because of the rules and stuff.

    That book looks good. I am reading “I Know This Much is True” by Wally Lamb. Excellent book.

  • D May 25, 2010, 7:24 pm

    I RULE at packing airport food! I go to university overseas so I am constantly traveling back and forth and generally have long layovers and multiple switches. I’m also a vegan so I know how hard it is to pack healthy veggie food. I always make sure to have substantial savoury food for meals, a mixture of perishable (for the first flights) and non-perishable (for the flights after I get into the country) food, protein bars, and drinks and condiments- it is SERIOUS business! A typical day of travelling eats would be a sandwich with pb or a small block of tempeh and a pre-baked sweet potato for “substantial” thing, carrot/veggie sticks and a piece of fruit or bag of grapes, several bars s (larabars, etc.), a mixed bag of trail mix or bulk bin things (energy chunks, nuts, dried fruit), a travel pack of justins almond butter, a travel container of sabra hummus, and some teabags/starbucks via packs. I spend more time packing my lunch bag than my suitcase! One time I got stopped and search and the lady opened my first bag and saw all my tupperware and said to me, “wow…that is a healthy lunch”…and then she went to open my second bag and i was like “oh, there’s more…”

    • caitlin May 26, 2010, 9:05 am

      you do rule at healthy eating in the airport!!!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing May 25, 2010, 7:33 pm

    That book sounds really good!!
    I’m taking my first trip oversees in 5 years and I’m starting to worry about packing food! I don’t know what’s allowed or what would be good to take.

  • Kacie @ Nonexistent Colors May 25, 2010, 7:36 pm

    I always pack snacks for flights!! And I scout the airports too for the healthiest options!! I packed yogurt once and TSA had to take it away from me because they considered it a “liquid.” I was crushed 🙁 I even did a post about eating when traveling!!

    Congrats on your accomplishment!!! So inspiring!!

  • Sarah @ cocoanutshakes May 25, 2010, 7:38 pm

    I usually bring some sort of protein/fiber/raw bar and an apple or two. I only ever really fly from SF to NYC on JetBlue which is only 5-6 hours, and whenever they bring around the snacks I just have the one I brought instead! That way I don’t go for the Doritos mix or whatever else they have.

    I always find myself buying coffee while I’m waiting at the terminal and if I ever spot frozen yogurt, there’s no way I’m not getting it.

  • Julie @ Pickley Pear May 25, 2010, 7:39 pm

    Ugh 2 layovers?! Makes for a long day. I usually pack a few protein bars, and then hope for a Subway or Quizno’s at the airport. When in doubt, you can typically find a banana, apple or orange somewhere.

  • Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries May 25, 2010, 7:49 pm

    Truthfully, I don’t pack too many snacks for flying. I generally find that I can come up with SOMETHING at the airport and then it’s one less thing I have to pack. I understand I’m not in the majority here, which I can totally see. It just works for me, i guess!

  • Ellen May 25, 2010, 7:58 pm

    Starbucks oatmeal is my go-to breakfast whether I’m at the airport or not. I love it for some reason. I usually eat Subway at the airport if there is one, and if not, I get a snack wrap from McDonald’s. Not super-healthy, but ONE of anything won’t kill you! (Getting a combo meal might though!:)


  • Joanne May 25, 2010, 8:00 pm

    The only items I pack are dried fruit and nuts. They get pretty old and boring on long flights but I remain hopeful that there will be some healthy food options during the trip.

  • Claire May 25, 2010, 8:10 pm

    Our subway has veggie burgers…did you find that at this one?

    • caitlin May 26, 2010, 9:05 am

      I didn’t even check! I forgot they do veggie burgers.

  • Wei-Wei May 25, 2010, 8:26 pm

    I don’t usually pack stuff to go on airplanes (usually just grab a piece of fruit for a snack on the way out) so I usually just eat airplane food. That said, the last time I went on an airplane was a long time ago, way before I started having any notions of “healthy eating”! So maybe next time I’ll pack something. 😉

    Have a safe flight! 😀


  • Mary May 25, 2010, 8:27 pm

    trying to find healthy noms is the hardest when you’re traveling. I usually try to pack ahead and bring it with me.

  • Cheryl H. May 25, 2010, 8:30 pm

    Your travel food looks truly healthy and amazing ~ making me hungry. I love Starbucks’ oatmeal ~ great idea to add banana and cinnamon.

    I hope you enjoy your trip to the Left Coast!!

  • Carolyn @ lovinlosing.com May 25, 2010, 8:54 pm

    Starbuck’s oatmeal is a lifesave at the airport!!

  • Diana (Mymarblerye) May 25, 2010, 8:55 pm

    not gonna lie…I always “treat” myself before I board the plane to a meal or a snack…circus peanuts or froyo..I’m a bad person and I spend $9 on mediocre food. Forgive me?

  • Erin May 25, 2010, 9:24 pm

    I really enjoyed Sarah’s Key–read it in one sitting, in fact.

    I travel a LOT. For domestic flights, I pack snacks and meals. For international flights, though, you’re sometimes in the air for 15-18 hours. I try to have a couple of snacks and pick-and-choose airline meals. The vegetarian meal is usually edible and includes at least a piece of fruit.

  • Bethany (@ NotUnlessI'mBeingChased) May 25, 2010, 9:54 pm

    I’m trying to be better about eating healthy while traveling. I’ve started carrying healthy snacks I know I can squeak by with in a pinch…but airport food always stumps me. I have the hardest time forking over the extra dough for a salad.
    P.S. I LOVED Sarah’s Key and was crying at the end too! Good to know it had that effect on someone else.

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) May 25, 2010, 10:39 pm

    I always eat the airport food … oatmeal if they have it!

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter May 25, 2010, 10:56 pm

    I definitely try to pack as healthy as possible. I look for a deli, or something that would have a banana or an apple as well as I pack myself at least 2 luna bars.

  • Molly @fuelherup May 25, 2010, 11:48 pm

    Woooo Houston! (aka where I go to school)

    I actually don’t have that much of a problem eating out of airports – I can always find fresh fruit, nuts, and/or a granola bar. If I’m lucky there’s always salads and Starbucks too. 🙂

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople May 26, 2010, 12:19 am

    I fly very rarely, in fact I’ve only flown four times in my life and it was before I cared about health, so I’ll have to read other people’s tips!

  • megan May 26, 2010, 7:56 am

    I just read that book this weekend (after seeing jenna’s recommendation), and it was captivating! At the end though, I kind of wished I hadn’t read it. I had those images stuck in my head, and I’m much more of a happy ending type of girl. Overall though, it really was a good book.

  • Maura May 26, 2010, 8:25 am

    I just finished Sarah’s Key on Monday! It was such a moving book. I hope you enjoy it. As for travel eats, I usually stick to oatmeal, a latte, yogurt, and garden salads. Maybe a luna bar or two just for emergencies!

  • Beth @ www.DiningAndDishing.com May 26, 2010, 10:59 am

    I usually travel as early as possible, so I bring along a breakfast like a Cliff Bar and piece of fruit. Then while at the airport I’ll buy a latte. That way it’s healthy and balanced but still included a little bought treat!

  • Corinne (breathe and savor) May 26, 2010, 12:02 pm

    I am reading Sarah’s Key now too! I am almost finished but I have to admit I do not want it to end. Savoring. every.last.page. I loved the back and forth story telling in the beginning of the book and the deep struggles both women went through at different ages and different places in their lives. AH! Did you enjoy?

    • Caitlin May 26, 2010, 12:11 pm

      loved, it was great.

  • Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] May 26, 2010, 12:15 pm

    I usually pack snacks for the plane: carrot + cuc stix, almonds & dried apricots, granola bars, dark chocolate! I figure I can go 1 day without set meals, so little healthy snacks usually work for me. Plus, I always hit up Starbucks : )

  • Tiffany May 26, 2010, 2:29 pm

    I’m reading Sarah’s Key for my book club, and so far I’m loving it!

  • mitzi May 29, 2010, 12:04 pm

    In the olden day, before healthy eating I would always take a bagel & cream cheese. I’m flying in July & I’ll take the tips from here!

    I read Sarah’s Key about 2 months ago & it’s still with me

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