Flying can be hard when you’re on a restricted diet. Here are a few recipes and tips for what to eat when flying… paleo and GAPS style!

Not a frequent flyer.

As a mom of five little kiddos, flying isn’t something I get to do that often. My husband and I would have to spend our entire yearly income (practically) to be able to afford flying our whole family somewhere, not to mention the stress of herding 2 year olds and trying to keep boys from running and jumping their way through airports. Usually when my family needs to make a trip we drive. 

This past week, however, I was offered a rare chance: flying alone to see my best friend and her family. Seeing as it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I took it.

What to eat when flying.

What am I going to eat?

After the tickets were ordered, reality began to set in. Being on the GAPS diet, there was pretty much a 0% chance the airline would offer something I could eat. Without getting sick, that is. 

I thought about eating before I left and then once I landed, but that left me with 8+ hours of no food. Not a very healthy thing when your body is in the process of healing. Since the GAPS diet is so restrictive, there was not really even a chance I would be able to find a suitable restaurant during a layover!

So I brainstormed with some friends, searched the TSA website, and set to work making my own paleo and GAPS-friendly travel snacks. Since I figured there are few of you out there who might someday be faced with the issue of what in the world to eat when flying, I thought I’d share my recently learned tips!

Foodie Flight Tips

If you’re traveling via the air and planning on eating, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Most commercial flights aren’t safe for gluten-free, paleo people. Don’t think you’ll be able to eat their peanuts, or even drink their coffee!
  • If you’re taking an overnight or longer flight and need more than snacks and finger foods, make sure you contact the airline ahead of time and let them know you’ll need a special meal.
  • Remember that going through airport security might take longer if you’re carrying food. Especially if your food isn’t easily recognizable as such through the security cameras. Not that I know that from experience…
  • Remember, no liquid through the security checkpoints! You can, however, bring empty bottles and fill up on water once you get through security. Airports have really yummy water…. 
  • If you’re taking any non-solid foods (like almond or peanut butter or mayo) you can’t take more than 4 ounces of it! Keep it in a leak-proof container – clear if possible – and ask the airline steward for a spoon once you’re on board.

What to eat when flying.

Now on to the goodies! I’m including foods that you can make ahead of time, that way you can control the quantity and the ingredient list. This is always the best option. However, if you don’t have the time to make your own food, I’m also including some store-bought options as well. Most of the store-bought options can be found at stores like Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Earth Fare. If you don’t have access to any of those grocery stores, you can buy the items on Amazon.

Please note, I usually just fly domestic and have not tried these foods on an international flight.

Also note, everything is completely paleo, and most foods are GAPS-legal unless noted otherwise. ;)

What to eat when flying.

Energy Bars & Granola Bars

Energy bars and granola bars make great travel-friendly snacks. They’re easy to store, easy to eat, and packed full of nutrition! Here are a few delicious homemade options, as well as some store-bought ones if you don’t have the time to bake.

Chocolate Energy Bars – When you need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, these energy bars from Delicious Obsessions hit the spot! They are really soft, so make sure you keep them refrigerated or frozen until you want to eat them.

Crunchy Energy Nut Bars – These crunchy energy nut bars from The Things We’ll Make are easy to make and store well for when you need a quick, healthy snack on-the-go. I call them paleo granola bars, and the recipe is grain free and highly customizable to suit your taste. (You can sub honey as sweetener for GAPS.)

Healthy Homemade Nut-Free Granola Bars – Nut-free safe homemade granola bars from Raising Generation Nourished that are fruit sweetened, and definitely kid approved! (pictured above)

Paleo Chia Honey Power Bars – Portable, pack-able, and power packed! Paleo chia honey power bars from Raising Generation Nourished are a busy family game changer!

Raw Power Energy Bars – These raw energy bars from Small Footprint Family are absolutely packed with protein, healthy fats, low-glycemic carbs, enzymes, vitamins, omega-3s, calcium, magnesium, selenium, iodine and zinc, and they are yummy and will keep you going for a good while. They are also great for anyone on a Paleo, Primal, GAPS, SCD, low carb, raw or vegan diet.

Store-bought or online options:

Organic Larabars – These are one of my favorite options. Just make sure to check the ingredients, since not all Larabars are paleo or GAPS-friendly. In general, the “organic with superfoods” ones are good. The Coconut, Kale & Cacao and the Turmeric, Ginger & Beet ones are my favorites!

RXBars – These come in a variety of flavors, like Blueberry, Coconut Chocolate, Mint Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Maple Sea Salt, Apple Cinnamon, Coffee Chocolate. I haven’t tried them all, but the ones I have tried (Coconut Chocolate and Peanut Butter) are completely GAPS-friendly.

Thunderbird Real Food Bars – These bars can be found locally in some Texas stores, but you can get them on Amazon as well. Just make sure to pay attention to the ingredient list. They’re all grain-free, but not necessarily paleo and GAPS-friendly (sometimes containing buckwheat, quinoa, or sweet potato). The Pecans, Goji & Pistachio, as well as the Hazelnut Coffee Mocha Bars are both certified paleo and are suitable for the GAPS Diet.

What to eat when flying.

Crackers & Chips

If you’re on the lookout for store-bought, GAPS-friendly chips to take along on your trip, I got nothin’ for ya. Sorry. I’ve searched health food stores high and low for GAPS-legal chips, but haven’t found any. Paleo is a different thing, though. There are plenty of paleo chip options available in health food stores if you search well! Or you could just enjoy these homemade varieties…

3-Ingredient Paleo Crackers – This crunchy, buttery low-carb keto crackers recipe from Wholesome Yum needs just 2 ingredients! Almond flour crackers are super easy, healthy, and delicious.

Carrot Pulp Cumin Crackers – Make use of your carrot juice scraps by making these easy, gluten-free, grain-free, vegan carrot pulp cumin crackers from Tasting Page. It’s a waste-free, healthy and nutritious snack!

Kale Rosemary Super Seed Crackers – These kale rosemary super seed crackers from Tasting Page are healthy flavor bombs full of nutritious ingredients. They’re gluten free and vegan and great on their own or with your favorite dip or spread.

Nut Free Paleo Crackers – These nut-free paleo crackers from What Great Grandma Ate are so crispy and delicious, they taste better than the store-bought kind! (These are not suitable for GAPS.) 

Paleo Doritos Like Chips – Crispy and coated with a tasty Mexican spice blend, these paleo Doritos like chips from The Things We’ll Make are a satisfying, healthy way to curb your junk food cravings. (pictured above)

Savory Italian Tiger Nut Flour Crackers – A healthy and delicious grain-free snack from Strength & Sunshine! Savory Italian tigernut flour crackers, easy and homemade, baked in the oven, and gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and allergy-free! They are perfect for an everyday snack or a fancy addition to an appetizer platter! (These are not suitable for GAPS.)

Paleo store-bought or online options (none of these are GAPS-legal):

Artisan Tropic Cassava Strips – Artisan Tropic only uses ethically sourced and 100% natural ingredients. The ingredients in these ‘chips’ are cassava flour, non-hydrogenated palm oil, and sea salt.

Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips – These sweet potato chips only have sweet potatoes, organic coconut oil, and sea salt in them!

Siete Sea Salt Tortilla Chips – Made with cassava, coconut, tapioca, chia seeds, avocado oil and sea salt. Can also be found at Target, Whole Foods, and Earth Fare grocery stores.

What to eat when flying.

Baked Goodies

If you’re packing baked goods for your trip, make sure they are of the firmer variety, so they won’t crumble all over or get too smashed in your carry-on. You don’t want to be digging out mushy cookies or crumbled muffins in the middle of your flight!

Note: some of these recipes may contain ingredients like baking powder and dairy-free chocolate chips, which can be suitable for a paleo diet, but are not GAPS-friendly. Just be aware…

Chewy Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies – Easy and delicious, these chewy peanut butter coconut cookies are a hit every time I make them! They’re naturally gluten-free, and easily paleo and GAPS-friendly, too!

Coconut Flour Chocolate Hazelnut Muffins – These grain free, coconut flour chocolate muffins from Small Footprint Family can be sweetened mostly with stevia, so they help you get your chocolate fix with a bare minimum of added sugar.  (Use baking powder-free option for GAPS.)

Coconut Flour Hodgepodge Cookies – Old fashioned cookies and milk is a treat that many food-allergic families have to give up. But this gluten free, grain free, coconut flour cookie recipe from Small Footprint Family always satisfies!

Dark Chocolate Banana Coconut Cookies – These easy and delicious vegan paleo dark chocolate banana coconut cookies from Raia’s Recipes  are a wonderful healthy treat! They’re simple and nutritious, so you won’t mind eating 2… or 10…

Egg Muffin Cups – This breakfast egg muffin cups recipe from Wholesome Yum with veggies or meats, eggs, and cheese has 15 flavor options! Healthy, low carb and easy to meal prep. (These are fine at room-temp for a few hours.)

“Everything But the Kitchen Sink” Paleo Breakfast Cookies – These paleo breakfast cookies from Raising Generation Nourished are filled with power packed protein, and satiating friendly fats, making it a great on the go, portable breakfast for anytime of the year! (Not suitable for GAPS.)

Healthier Carrot Cake Cupcakes – These almond flour carrot muffins from Texanerin are super moist, lightly sweetened with honey and even a little fluffy! These grain-free and gluten-free healthier carrot cake muffins are the perfect Easter treat. The reviewers love them! With a dairy-free option. (Leave off the drizzle on top.)

Lemon Blueberry Macadamia Nut Muffins – These lemon coconut blueberry macadamia nut muffins from Delicious Obsessions are perfect when you need something sweet and dessert-like to fill a craving.

Paleo Chocolate Banana Muffins – These fudgy paleo chocolate banana muffins from Texanerin are super rich and decadent! They’re also naturally sweetened with honey and are grain-free, gluten-free and dairy-free. (Leave off the chocolate chips and topping for GAPS.)

Pumpkin Spice Muffins – These coconut flour pumpkin spice muffins from Raia’s Recipes are perfect for breakfast or a snack. They’re paleo and GAPS diet-friendly, too, so you don’t have to feel guilty devouring them!

Savory Pumpkin Muffins with Apple & Sage – Perfect for breakfast or a snack, these paleo and GAPS-friendly savory pumpkin muffins with apple and sage from Raia’s Recipes are a delicious treat! (pictured above)

What to eat when flying.

Nuts, Trail Mixes & Granolas

Granolas and trail mixes are also a great travel-friendly snack. Just make sure that if you’re buying store-bought granolas, nuts, and trail mixes that you check the ingredients for grains, added sweeteners, or oils that aren’t paleo or GAPS-friendly. With trail mix, I’ve found it’s best to purchase the individual ingredients and then combine them myself. And if you’re on the GAPS diet, it’s safer to make your own granola at home.

Gluten-Free Morning Glory Granola – Start your day off quick and nourished with crispy, crunchy, and honey sweetened morning glory granola from Raising Generation Nourished(Use paleo option.)

Goji Berry Paleo Granola – This grain-free goji berry paleo granola from What Great Grandma Ate is easy to make and has those crunchy clusters that everyone loves! So much tastier than the store-bought variety.

Grain-Free Apple Cinnamon Granola – This recipe from Raising Generation Nourished is a perfect cold breakfast option to have on hand for traveling.

Low-Carb Granola Cereal – You’ll love this fast, easy low-carb keto granola recipe from Wholesome Yum with nuts and seeds! It’s crunchy, grain free, sugar free, and just 2g net carbs. (Use honey as sweetener for GAPS.)

Spiced Bacon Cashews – These bacon spiced cashews from What Great Grandma Ate are a delicious and easy low carb snack that’s filling while being healthy! You’ll love the crunchy, addicting flavor.

Sugar-Free Curry Lime Nuts – If you’re in need of a healthy snack or treat, these sugar free curry lime nuts from Tasting Page will do the trick. The protein will keep you going and the sweet spices will bring you back for more! (pictured above)

Tiger Nut Trail Mix – A trail mix with tiger nuts from Today In Dietzville adds a nice sweet flavor that many have described as coconut-like, and you may even confuse them with almonds as some types can look and taste similar. (Leave off chocolate chips for GAPS.)

What to eat when flying.

Veggies & Fruits

Sometimes simple is best. Fresh organic carrots sticks, celery sticks, cucumber spears, and chopped peppers, as well as fruits like apples and bananas are great snacks to bring along on a plane. Here are some homemade options that make for great travel snacks, as well.

Baked Zucchini Chips – Learn how to make crispy zucchini chips in the oven (or the dehydrator or air fryer)! This recipe from Wholesome Yum is easy and healthy, with 6 flavor ideas.

The Best Crispy Kale Chips – Kick your cravings for something salt and crispy with these satisfying, healthy chips from The Things We’ll Make; the best crispy kale chips I’ve eaten. Gomasio adds a fun flavor kick with nutritious sesame seeds and seaweed. (pictured above)

Easy Homemade Pickle Chips – These easy lacto-fermented pickle chips are a favorite snack and side dish at my house. They’re packed with delicious nutrition, so I don’t mind. (Remove any liquid before packing!)

Simple Homemade Sauerkraut – Love sauerkraut? This easy 2-ingredient homemade sauerkraut is not only delicious, it’ll save you money, too. And it’s perfect for paleo, whole30, GAPS, and more! (Remove any liquid before packing!)

Spicy Chipotle Kale Chips – These spicy chipotle kale chips from Today In Dietzville are nice and crunchy while being super healthy and can be made to fit around most diets.

Store-bought or online options:

Veggie-Go’s Fruit & Veggie Strips – While these are all paleo, to the best of my knowledge, pay attention to the ingredients here, if you’re on the GAPS Diet. Some of these contain veggies that aren’t GAPS-friendly, like sweet potatoes. My favorites GAPS-legal varieties are the TropiKale and the Carrot Ginger strips. 

Dried fruits such as raisins, banana chips, figs, and dates. Just make sure to check the ingredients to make sure no sweeteners, stabilizers, or other additives have been sneaked in.

What to eat when flying.

Non-perishable No-Bakes

If you’re going on a shorter trip, these no-bake treats will work well. I would make sure they’re stored on top of your carry-on, so they don’t get smushed. If you’re planning on taking a longer flight, these can still work, just maybe eat them first before digging into your other snacks.

Almond Butter Protein Snacks – If you love protein bars but do not love that they are full of junk, then you have to check this easy, 6-ingredient recipe from Delicious Obsessions.

Coconut Date Balls (or Bites) – Looking for a naturally sweetened treat that is easy to make? Made with only two ingredients, coconut and dates, these coconut date balls from The Things We’ll Make are naturally sweet, without any refined sugar. For a fun presentation, they can also be pressed into candy molds.

Homemade Coconut Date Snacks – These little snacks from Delicious Obsessions provide a powerful punch of nutrition as they combine dates, coconut, nuts and a bit of coconut oil. There is nothing processed or fake about them. I can feel good feeding them to my whole family and the best thing is that they are kid-approved!

Sesame & Coconut Halva – Easy and packed with nutrition, this raw, paleo sesame coconut halva is a fun treat you’ll enjoy again and again! (pictured above)

Store-bought or online options:

Heavenly Organics Mint Chocolate Honey Patties – these are uuuuuhhhhmazing and totally worth the money for a little GAPS-friendly treat!